A collaborative project involving Oxford University Hospitals (OUH), Defence Medical Services (DMS), and the University of Oxford’s Radcliffe Department of Medicine is in the running for a prestigious honour at the HSJ Awards 2021. The Defence COVID-19 Rehabilitation and Recovery Service (DCRS) is shortlisted for the Military and Civilian Health Partnership Award, which celebrates excellence in healthcare and health improvement for the Armed Forces community and the importance of working with partners.
The project has so far helped nearly 300 UK Armed Forces personnel with persistent COVID-19 symptoms to recover. This is done through a comprehensive clinical, rehabilitation, and occupational medicine assessment involving all three partners.
Earlier in the summer, the DCRS was also awarded the Sir Archibald McIndoe Trophy by the Royal Air Force in recognition of work undertaken to further the rehabilitation of those who have had severe or protracted COVID-19.
Personnel with COVID-19 are referred by their military units for assessment at the Defence Military Rehabilitation Centre in Loughborough and, depending on symptoms, are sent to Oxford for additional cardiorespiratory investigations. This includes high-resolution CT chest scans, pulmonary function testing, and cardiovascular MRI. Investigations are performed in West Wing Radiology (John Radcliffe Hospital), Oxford Centre for Respiratory Medicine (Churchill Hospital), and the University of Oxford’s Centre for Clinical Magnetic Resonance Research (OCMR, John Radcliffe) respectively.
Co-ordinated by a team of RAF nurses and doctors based at RCDM (Royal Centre for Defence Medicine) Oxford, a military unit at the John Radcliffe, tests are carried out and reported rapidly by a mixture of Trust and University radiographers, physiologists, and consultants. This pathway ensures that, within a week, a military patient with persistent symptoms can have thorough investigation and multidisciplinary input, which leads to a quick decision about their ability to return to work and rehabilitation treatment.
Sqn Ldr Rebecca Chamley, an Honorary Cardiology Specialist Registrar at OUH, said: “We are so thrilled to have been shortlisted for the HSJ Awards. This recognition really does reflect the collaborative efforts and dedication of our colleagues who have worked so hard to successfully deliver the Defence COVID-19 Rehabilitation and Recovery Services.
“Knowing that there was such stiff competition this year really does make this announcement feel like a wonderful achievement for everyone involved and the nomination has been a tremendous boost to OUH staff.
“This service has benefitted so many military patients from across the UK, and it is the collaborative efforts of staff from OUH, DMS, and the University of Oxford that allows this to take place.”
The project, one of nine in the final category, was established collaboratively with exercise and rehabilitation specialists, physicians, and sports scientists in the DMS and delivered in tandem with the cardiology, respiratory, and radiology departments at OUH.
Alistair McLellan, HSJ Editor, said: “On behalf of all my colleagues, I’d like to take this opportunity to congratulate OUH, Defence Medical Services, and the University of Oxford on being nominated in the category of Military and Civilian Health Partnership Award in this year’s HSJ Awards.
“The applications we receive always present our panel of judges with a very difficult task as the standard is unfailingly high and the breadth of innovation and passion for patient care is always so inspiring.
“This year, we really have been overwhelmed with the level of entries, particularly when set against the backdrop of the COVID-19 pandemic and the huge challenges faced by our health and social care workforce.
“We are therefore looking forward to welcoming all our finalists to the live ceremony in November and joining us in celebrating their incredible achievements and commitment to excellence.”
The full list of nominees for the HSJ Awards 2021 can be found on the HSJ website. Winners will be announced during an awards ceremony in London on Thursday 18 November 2021.