South Birmingham surgery in line for parliament award

Pioneering technology leads to recognition for West Heath Surgery.

A GP practice in South Birmingham is being recognised for the successful implementation of pioneering technology after making the final shortlist for a national NHS Parliamentary Award.

West Heath Surgery was nominated by local MP Gary Sambrook for the NHS Future Award, which celebrates teams that use technology and data to provide improved service. Staff from West Heath will now be representing the whole of the Midlands at the House of Commons award ceremony, beating more than 700 other NHS centres to the final stage.

The team will travel to parliament next July, pitting its frontline app, virtual care home service, remote chronic disease management portals and online medication ordering facility against six other health centres from across the UK.

Having originally launched the MyHealthcare app from the surgery in 2016, more than 40 per cent of the practice’s patients now communicate through their device – with the app subsequently being renamed as the ‘NHS Birmingham and Solihull Health’ and rolled out to nearly 80% of the GP practices in the region.

The surgery also led the way in terms of Covid-19 reaction, spearheading a completely virtual service that laid the blueprints for many other NHS centres in the region. Having launched a virtual centre delivered by GPs, pharmacists and nurse practitioners in 2015, the switch to video appointments was instantaneous at the practice.

West Heath’s ongoing work with care homes in the area also impressed Mr Sambrook and the NHS assessors. The practice worked with GP organisation South Doc Services to introduce a seven-day-a-week virtual support service, which provided telephone and video appointments with doctors and nurses for all care home patients, reducing the need for external staff visits to care homes.

The NHS Parliamentary Awards celebrates the often-unsung heroics of NHS staff and centres, with local MPs nominating those that go above and beyond in their constituency. Each year, hundreds of nominations are whittled down to just seven finalists per category, which then represent their region at the award ceremony at The House of Commons.

Commenting on nominating West Heath Surgery, Gary Sambrook MP said: “The advancements in technology at West Heath are not just benefiting the surgery’s patients, but the whole of Birmingham and Solihull. The app that has been developed has streamlined the GP process at a time where efficiency is paramount. I’m proud to nominate them for The Future NHS Award and I’m confident they will bring the award back to Birmingham.”

Nirmal Vora, managing partner at West Heath Surgery, said: “Everyone at the surgery has strived to make the patient experience as seamless as possible, from ordering a prescription to seeing one of our medical professionals. All the technology we have developed is designed to remove the barriers for patients to seek help, and to maximise the number appointments we can schedule in a time when demand is at an all-time high.

“To make it the final stage of the Parliamentary Award is testament to the hard work of team and the foresight of our developers, Substrakt Health. We have an amazing team both frontline and behind the scenes and we’re delighted to be representing the Midlands at the awards next year.”