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Respiratory Infections HIT – its successes and sustaining its impact

13 April 2018

The Respiratory Infections Health Integration Team (HIT) has achieved several key successes since its inception in 2012, and officially closed as a HIT in 2017. Its work continues to have impact today.

Also known as RuBICoN, this team of doctors and scientists worked together to improve advice and support for patients and parents of children with respiratory infections, and to reduce antibiotic use in treating these infections. It was set up in December 2012 and over five years, conducted research and carried out projects with lasting impact.

A core project was establishing parent advice sessions on common childhood illnesses. These sessions, delivered by a former GP and Health Visitor, gave advice on ailments such as fever, viruses, bacterial infections, cough and breathing problems. They also signposted parents to where to find support, and how to care for children at home. Its successes include:

  • Ninety-nine parents attended six sessions at children’s centres in Bristol, North Somerset and South Gloucestershire
  • Feedback was excellent, with 99 per cent of parents rating the sessions ‘useful’ or ‘very useful’
  • Eighty-five per cent of attendees said they would do something different as a result of the session

A six-month follow-up about these sessions has shown that parents who attended have had an increase in confidence in managing conditions without support from health professionals. One parent said:

“This knowledge has given me more confidence and also helped with the anxiety I have suffered with since my baby's birth.”

The team who led the project continue to work together to embed these sessions into services in the region.

This was just one of the HIT’s successes, which also included:

  • Major funding achieved for successful TARGET research programme
  • Securing funding for a feasibility study to evaluate an intervention that gives personalised antimicrobial prescribing feedback to GPs
  • Establishing the bronchiectasis HOT clinic at North Bristol NHS Trust, which provided encouraging data on patients’ quality of life and use of healthcare. There were trends towards lower levels of admissions, emergency department attendances and bed days in the trial year
  • Intelligence sharing on point of care testing, including sharing audit data and connecting researchers with Public Health England

Members of the HIT continue to make progress in supporting parents and patients through their clinical and academic pursuits. They remain connected as an informal network.

Professor Alastair Hay, Director of the HIT, said:

“I am very proud of what our HIT achieved during its five years of operation. From major new research grants to our highly successful parent advice sessions, testing new pathways to data sharing, our status as a HIT, bringing all the right people together to make a difference, really helped us tackle some tricky issues. We are leaving an impressive legacy that we will continue to build on.”

David Relph, Director of Bristol Health Partners, said:

“I am delighted that RuBICoN has achieved so much during its five years as a HIT. Congratulations to Alastair and everyone else in the team. Our Health Integration Teams are about bringing people together across organisational boundaries, to make positive changes to improve care and quality of life for people in and around Bristol. RuBICoN is a great example of how the pioneering work of our HITs can have lasting impact.”
Respiratory Infections HIT – its successes and sustaining its impact
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