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Dr Alexander Wilkinson

RCP Excellence in Patient Care Awards 2016 winner – Doctor in specialty training category

Dr Alexander Wilkinson was the winner of the doctor in specialty training category at the RCP Excellence in Patient Care Awards 2016, for his innovative approach to improving the smoking cessation services of his hospital in addition to the education and training delivered to hospital staff.

Dr Wilkinson discusses his project and talks about what excellence in patient care means to him, why it is important to recognise it, and the positive impact his project has had on the lives of his patients.

The winner's work

My project was a multifaceted approach to improving smoking cessation services and education. At my hospital this included:

  • expanding the range of available nicotine replacement therapies
  • providing specialist smoking cessation counselling to inpatients
  • an education programme for hospital staff.

As part of this I developed a novel way of doing case-based discussions (CBDs) online: the electronic CBD (eCBD). I wrote an online learning module in which junior doctors describe a case of a smoker they’ve seen in their clinical practice. The learning module gives instant feedback, but also allows the use of free text. Discussions about the case continue over email, prior to a CBD being completed in their ePortfolio.

Smoking is the largest reversible cause of death and disease in the UK, so the potential benefit to patients of improving services is huge. This project has improved the help smokers receive when attending hospital and resulted in a large increase in the number of patients referred to stop-smoking clinics.

I was thrilled to be given this award and delighted that the RCP recognised the importance of improving smoking cessation services.

Dr Alexander Wilkinson, Excellence in Patient Care Awards 2016 winner

Tobacco addiction has long been neglected in medical curricula and the answers given on my eCBD revealed widespread, misplaced concerns about overdosing patients on nicotine replacement therapy. I surveyed regional respiratory training representatives nationally: in only seven out of 13 regions did respiratory registrars feel their training adequately equipped them to prescribe smoking cessation medications. This data has been fed back to the RCP and plans are in place to include questions on treating tobacco addiction in future MRCP Part 2 exams.

I was thrilled to be given this award and delighted that the RCP recognised the importance of improving smoking cessation services. I am extremely grateful for all the skill, support and dedication of the smoking cessation team at Luton and Dunstable Hospital, who made this project possible. I have moved to another hospital now, but I continue trying to improve smoking cessation services and am considering another eCBD on acute non-invasive ventilation. I’m very interested in the potential role of IT in medical education and have started a new project to crowd-source the best medical education resources on the internet.

Meet other Excellence in Patient Care Awards 2016 winners

The winners of the 2017 awards will be announced at Medicine 2017: RCP annual conference