Local health project shortlisted for prestigious award

September 18, 2015

NHS Greater Huddersfield Clinical Commissioning Group and NHS North Kirklees Clinical Commissioning Group’s Clarity project has been shortlisted in the Primary Care Innovation category at the 2015 Health Service Journal (HSJ) Awards to be held on 18 November at the Grosvenor House Hotel, London.

The Clarity project was started to help people end or cut their use of sleeping pills and tablets for anxiety such as prescribed benzodiazepines (drugs in the diazepam ‘family’) and ’z-drugs’ (including zopiclone, zolpidem and zaleplon).

The project is funded by the two CCGs in partnership with Public Health, Kirklees Council and is run by Lifeline Kirklees.

The project works by giving patients time with a specialist substance misuse adviser, who supports them with information about the effects of the tablets and how best to reduce or stop their use.

Patients are also offered help with alternative ways of managing anxiety and insomnia, including natural relaxation techniques, massage, mindfulness and cognitive behavioural therapy.

Dr Ramesh Edara, NHS Greater Huddersfield Clinical Commissioning Group’s lead on medicines management and a Slaithwaite GP, said: “I am delighted that this project has been shortlisted for an award as it provides a structured withdrawal programme that takes more time than most GP practices are able to give. Specialised substance misuse workers help patients understand the likely effects of withdrawal and establish better long-term sleeping patterns without using sleeping pills.”

Dr Khalid Naeem, NHS North Kirklees Clinical Commissioning Group’s lead on medicines management and a GP practising in Batley, said: “I am really pleased that this project has been recognised by the HSJ.  Sleeping tablets like diazepam are meant for short-term use and are highly addictive, the benefit of the Clarity project is that it provides patients with a structured withdrawal programme.”

Tony Cooke, Head of Health Improvement for Kirklees Council, said, “I’m thrilled this project has been shortlisted, it is an excellent example of local government, communities and the NHS working together with local people and is clearly paying dividends in improving the quality of life for many local people.”

Alastair McLellan, Editor, HSJ, said “The NHS is experiencing one of the toughest periods in its 67 year history, with demand and expectation rising and funding in short supply. The fact that the HSJ Awards has seen the biggest ever increase in entries shows the service remains undaunted in its mission to provide world beating patient care.”

The Health Service Journal (HSJ) Awards, is the largest celebration of excellence in UK healthcare, highlighting the most innovative and successful people and projects in the sector.

The awards were created in 1981 to recognise, on a national platform, the projects and initiatives that deliver healthcare excellence and innovation. By shining a spotlight on cutting-edge innovations and best practice, the awards give impetus to improving the quality of health care in the UK.

This year, more than 600 unique organisations submitted more than 1600 entries. The shortlisted organisations, will now complete presentations and interviews to a specific judging panel made up of senior and influential figures from the health sector.

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