The prestigious Monmouth Award is given to those who achieve the top 10 highest marks in the exam, which is taken by hundreds of people.
Mary Tomlinson, Head of Clinical Coding at United Lincolnshire Hospitals NHS Trust, said: “We are delighted that Susan and Rebecca have scored so highly in their coding accreditation exam and have gone on to win this award. As a Trust, we support our coders to take the exam and we’re proud of them all for their hard work and dedication. Five of our coders passed it this time and a further six will be taking the exam later this year.”
Clinical coding is essential to NHS Trusts as it underpins how they get paid for the treatment they provide. Clinical coding is the translation of medical terminology written by a clinician to describe a patient’s complaint, problem, diagnosis, treatment or reason for seeking medical attention into a coded format which is nationally and internationally recognised. As well as serving a vital financial role, the codes that come from a patient’s records are used for financial planning, hospital performance and global studies of diseases.
Each month, the Trust’s coding staff read the medical history and stories of around 14,000 patients.
Rebecca said: “Our job can be an emotional rollercoaster. We read about seriously unwell people, and those who’ve made an unbelievable recovery. It’s a privilege to read about people’s lives and experiences – it’s something that stays with you.”
There are 27 clinical coders at the Trust, with 14 at Lincoln, nine at Boston, three at Grantham and one at Louth. They’re helped by a team of coding support staff who free up their time, allowing them to work better and smarter. They fetch notes, do administrative work and chase missing information which would otherwise slow the coders down.
Susan said: “We’ve both been coding for such a long time, 22 years between us, which goes to show how much we enjoy it. The exam includes two papers which last three hours each and have a 90% and 60% pass rate. Passing it means we’re now accredited coders which will help with our career development. Getting the award is just the icing on the cake!”
On Saturday 23 March, all of those who took the exam will be invited to attend a ceremony in Canary Wharf, London to receive their certificates and for Rebecca and Susan, they’ll also be given their Monmouth Awards.