Maria Howdon – Head of Membership Development at Thanet Clinical Commissioning Group in Kent, wins Unsung Hero award at the National Association of Primary Care Awards in October 2017.  The awards recognise the exceptional work of individuals and organisations in primary care who have gone the extra mile. The ceremony was held on the evening of the first day of the National Association of Primary Care’s annual conference Best Practice.

Following the closure of five local practices, Maria led the development of the Thanet Health Primary Care Home (PCH) – one of the NAPC’s rapid test sites chosen to pilot the PCH model. She took a lead role in bringing together primary and community nursing into one integrated team, focusing on skills and the needs of the patients rather than historical roles. Vacancies in the nursing team have subsequently dropped from 24 to zero. Thanet Health PCH’s successes include the introduction of an acute response team which has produced more than £0.5 million worth of savings, based on 15 admissions being avoided per week, and a patient satisfaction rate of 98.8%.