Creative & Innovative Social Work Practice


Hospital Extended Services

ORGANISATION: Birmingham City Council

AWARD(S): Creative & Innovative Social Work Practice


Birmingham’s Hospital Extended Services initiative was introduced after commissioners recognised social workers were at risk of burnout due to an increasing number of referrals. They knew it was time for a radical change but were clear it should be one with social workers at the heart of it.


The work has involved rolling out a series of extended hospital schemes that protect the skills, knowledge and expertise of social workers, while offering better outcomes for older people.


One notable example is the extension of social work provision to cover seven days a week – a change that is on the horizon for practitioners across the UK as health and social care services join together. With no additional funding available, Birmingham has relied entirely on the goodwill of 16 volunteers to make it happen. The experienced social workers are based across eight hospital sites and have already achieved an increase in more timely discharges from hospital.


Birmingham’s commitment to the profession shone through this application and, despite having to change the minds of those who believe social workers have no place in a medical setting, they have succeeded in bringing hospital social work back under the spotlight for all the right reasons.


I loved this entry. It shows the true value of social work and the team has been successful in gaining the confidence of health and hospital services. It’s a great story.

Isabelle Trowler, Chief Social Worker for Children & Families

Seven-day working is a massive sector issue so the fact they’ve actually done something with it is absolutely brilliant.

Paul Ringer, Director of Children’s Services, Spurgeons

The focus on achieving the right outcomes for older people by getting them out of hospital and into the right placement really stood out for me. They have brought hospital social work back into the profile again and the teamwork was excellent.

Carol Long, Chief Executive, Young Epilepsy

At all times you worked tirelessly and with the utmost professionalism to resolve what was a very difficult and complex case. My brother and I are most grateful to you, your involvement undoubtedly ensured the right outcome for our uncle.

Relative of a service user


Mid Older Peoples Community Team, Essex County Council

Divisional Based Intervention Team, Essex County Council


No Wrong Door Initiative, North Yorkshire County Council

Adult Social Care Service, Dudley Metropolitan Borough Council

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