Dr Claire Fuller, our Senior Responsible Officer, has been named Clinical Leader of the Year in the national Health Service Journal annual awards – the Oscars of the NHS!

Claire received the award for her development of the Surrey Heartlands Clinical Academy as well as her outstanding leadership of NHS Surrey Downs Clinical Commissioning Group through a challenging period of change.

As former Clinical Chair and former Interim Clinical Accountable Officer at Surrey Downs CCG Claire supported the development of pioneering new initiatives such as Community Hubs and the Epsom Health and Care programme, which are succeeding in reducing non elective emergency admissions by up to 4%.

In her role as clinical lead for the Clinical Academy, Claire has led plans to address unwarranted variation in health outcomes across the area, working with colleagues to share best practice, put pioneering research into practice through pilot projects, and introducing new and innovative ways of working.

Surrey Downs CCG were also successful in winning the ‘Improving Care with Technology’ award at the same event for an innovative teledermoscopy referral platform which they commission;  this platform provides real-time communication between GPs and dermatology specialists to accelerate faster and more accurate skin abnormality diagnoses including potentially malignant moles and tumours. 

Referrals and images can be sent directly to qualified clinicians who are able to respond quickly to help GPs develop management plans for patients within primary care, helping patients to be seen more quickly and reducing unnecessary referrals into secondary care.

Claire commented: “It is a real honour to be recognised in this way and I am thrilled for Surrey Downs for all they have achieved as well. In my new role I am committed to furthering clinical engagement in local healthcare planning and to developing strong partnership projects that improve care across the Surrey Heartlands region.  Already we are seeing much more collaborative working, putting patients rather than organisations first, and that will make a significant difference to the quality of care for local people.”

Ashford and St Peter’s Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust were also finalists in the ‘staff engagement’ category at the same event for their ‘Be the Change’ programme. Originally introduced by a group of junior doctors as a way of enabling any member of staff to put forward suggestions for change and improvement, the project has helped break through traditional hierarchies and has empowered staff to put forward their own ideas for change. Since then, it’s become an integral part of the Trust’s approach to quality improvement, equipping staff with the knowledge, skills and capability they need to make positive changes.

All in all a very successful night for Surrey Heartlands.