International recognition for healthy ageing initiatives

TEip on Aha Reference Sitehe Yorkshire & Humber Academic Health Science Network (AHSN) has led a successful bid to retain international recognition for the region’s active and healthy ageing initiatives.

Experts from across Europe have awarded Yorkshire & Humber ‘Reference Site’ status and a three-star rating for the European Innovation Partnership on Active and Healthy Ageing. The prestigious award recognises the area’s innovative and comprehensive approach to healthy ageing with concrete evidence of the impact of their work on patients’ health.

In 2013, Yorkshire and the Humber became one of the first regions to be awarded three stars in England.

European Reference Sites are coalitions of regions, cities, integrated hospitals or care organisations, industry organisation, SMEs and research institutions that jointly aim to provide concrete examples of innovative services with proven added value to citizens and care systems in EU regions. Being a Reference Site is recognition of the leadership necessary to form a comprehensive, innovation-based approach to active and healthy ageing across many sectors.

All Reference Sites have committed to sharing their achievements with others and transferring knowledge across Europe.

The Yorkshire & Humber AHSN led this latest bid on behalf of all stakeholders in the region.

Dr Stephen Stericker, Head of Programmes, at Yorkshire & Humber AHSN, said: “This is great news for Yorkshire and the Humber and I’m delighted that, once again, the excellent work across the region has been recognised and that we have been awarded this prestigious status.

“I’m particularly pleased to see that we have been joined this year by AHSNs in Greater Manchester, North West Coast and the North East in achieving three -star status. This is a fantastic achievement for the North.”

Three initiatives were highlighted in the successful bid:

  • The electronic Frailty Index (eFI) developed in partnership with Bradford Teaching Hospital Foundation Trust, Leeds University and ResearchOne and implemented by Yorkshire & Humber AHSN’s Improvement Academy. The eFI uses information from patients’ electronic health records to enable GPs and primary care clinicians to proactively identify older people who are at risk of developing mild, moderate and severe frailty so appropriate, proactive, goal-orientated care pathways can be devised. It is available in over 2,500 GP practices across England.
  • The Airedale Telehealth Hub launched in 2012 to provide care to patients in the Bradford and Airedale area. This is now being scaled up to cover 10,000 nursing and care home residents living in 283 homes across many regions of England.
  • The Altogether Better community health champions programme. This now has over 18,000 volunteer community health champions across three regions helping to support positive behaviour change, improving health and more appropriate use of health care services resulting in decreasing hospital admissions. Around 104,000 people have benefitted from the support of the community health champions.

The Yorkshire & Humber AHSN was supported during the bid process by the Northern Health Science Alliance.

Its CEO, Dr Hakim Yadi, said: “The North’s excellence in healthy and active ageing is second to none with centres of international importance located here. This assessment of work by a panel of independent experts demonstrates the excellent research being done across the region in this field and its effectiveness at putting innovative ideas into practice to make a very real difference to people’s lives.”

Assistant Director Healthcare Transformation at the Department of Health Social Services and Public Safety, John Farrell, said: “The Reference Sites in the North of England are among some of the most advanced Reference Sites in Europe.

“Their collaborative approach in engaging health and care providers, government, industry and researchers in the development and adoption of innovative solutions have helped to improve health and care outcomes for patients and offered new models and approaches that will help transform the way services are delivered. This recognition, along with the technological and innovative solutions being developed, will help to open new commercial markets across Europe and beyond.”