More awards success for Safe and Well Visits programme
Award wins continue to roll in for a groundbreaking initiative that continues to improve the health of potentially vulnerable people.
Cheshire Fire and Rescue Service’s Safe and Well Visits programme – for the over 65s and people who are referred to the fire service by partner agencies because they are considered to be at a particular risk – has scooped a host of awards since it was launched in February 2017 in collaboration with the NHS and local authority directors of public health.
The latest success saw the initiative win the Innovation in the Care of Long Term Conditions gong at the NHS Healthcare Transformation Awards at the ExCeL Exhibition Centre in London for the second year running.
The renewed recognition came for more than a thousand screenings for atrial fibrillation, a heart condition that can cause strokes, being conducted as part of Safe and Well Visits across Halton – the previous Innovation in the Care of Long Term Conditions award win was for bowel cancer screenings carried out as part of visits across Cheshire.
And the award success in the capital on Wednesday 27 June came just days after it was confirmed that Safe and Well is one of three initiatives – out of more than 50 applications – to have won a 2018 Energy Impact Award and a £5,000 prize.
The gong won for tackling affordable warmth issues in Cheshire households during the winter months as part of Safe and Well Visits will be presented during the NEA Conference in Nottingham from 17 to 19 September.
Nick Evans, Head of Prevention at Cheshire Fire and Rescue Service, said: “The latest award wins, achieved ahead of such strong competition, are testimony to the innovative and collaborative work Cheshire Fire and Rescue Service’s operational and prevention staff do to ensure that our elderly communities remain independent but also safe and well in their homes.
“The groundbreaking Safe and Well Visits help people considered to be at a particular risk go on to have safer, healthier and happier lives and are implemented in partnership with partner agencies.
“The NHS Healthcare Transformation Award was won in partnership with the Halton Clinical Commissioning Group and Halton Borough Council’s Public Health Team with support and funding from the Innovation Agency (North West Coast).
“The collaboration has seen CFRS staff trained by the NHS to conduct an electrocardiogram (ECG) test for atrial fibrillation as part of a Safe and WellVvisit and where necessary signpost people to make a GP appointment and receive treatment to reduce the risk of a future medical episode.
“We are leading the way with this work and it is attracting strong interest from health partners in other parts of the country, notably Lancashire and London.
“The 2018 Energy Impact Award was won in partnership with the four local authorities in Cheshire and the Energy Project Plus charity and represents public sector/third sector partnership at its finest.
“Due to the success of our Safe and Well Visits, NHS England (Cheshire and Merseyside Sub-Region) asked us to undertake some work to help address excess winter deaths in England, in particular by helping identify people at risk from affordable warmth issues.
“The £5,000 we will get as part of the award win will be given to Energy Projects Plus to help the charity cover the costs of this work.”
The free Safe and Well Visits see Cheshire firefighters and advocates provide far more than the traditional fire safety and smoke alarm advice.
As well as winter warmth safety and atrial fibrillation training, they have received additional training to provide advice on slips, trips and falls prevention during Safe and Well Visits.
The visits also encourage people to use a free bowel cancer screening kit and offer additional support to those who wish to stop smoking or taking drugs or reduce their alcohol consumption.
Since its inception, the Safe and Well Visits programme has also scooped a Working Together gong at the 2018 iESE Public Sector Transformation Awards, a 2017 Excellence in Fire and Emergency Award for Partnership of the Year and a Showcasing Best Practice Award at the 2017 international Heart Rhythm Conference.
It also earned Cheshire Fire and Rescue Service a place as a shortlisted finalist in the public health category at the 2018 LGC Awards.
People over the age of 65 can book a Safe and Well Visit via Cheshire Fire and Rescue Service’s website – www.cheshirefire.gov.uk – where Cheshire residents can carry out their own home safety check by completing a questionnaire. This can also be done by downloading the free Risk Rater app from the App Store or Google Play store.
This home safety check enables people to generate their own personal home safety plan with advice on how to prevent fires.