You may recall a few months ago that James Thomas used the message to announce the relaunch of the Making Every Day Count programme. He described the sustained pressure we face with record (and increasing) numbers of patients attending the Emergency Department and requiring admission.
Since then we’ve been working in partnership with a team of specialists who support NHS organisations in dealing with the challenges we face, to really focus on improving the flow of emergency patients.
Through hard work, commitment and a willingness to work differently the ED team, supported by colleagues throughout the Trust, have achieved some fantastic results. They’ve introduced the #Fit2Sit campaign, which encourages frontline healthcare professionals and paramedics to put an end to patients lying down on trolleys and stretchers if they are well enough to sit or stand. This simple initiative helps the patient retain mobility, frees up trolley space, porters and often speeds up the whole process.
They’ve also introduced regular safety huddles, a short multidisciplinary briefing that helps staff better understand what is going on with each patient improving both patient safety and care. Our wards have also introduced weekly reviews of our longest staying patients, reducing the number of these patients by over a third over the past few weeks.
These changes have led to some very concrete improvements – we’ve seen the amount of time taken for ambulances to hand over their patients to the ED team reduce by a substantial 67% this October compared to last year, giving SECAmb back over 120 hours of precious time to help other patients in the community. ASPH is now regularly in the top three best performing Trusts for SECAmb handovers, indicative of better patient flow through the Emergency Department.
Our four hour A&E performance compared to other Trusts has also improved dramatically whereby we are showing more resilience than other providers with our performance now regularly in the top quartile nationally.
Of equal importance is the less tangible benefits to this new approach. The team report a renewed sense of collaborative working. In recent times they have dealt with some particularly difficult and emotive cases and really pulled together to provide outstanding care for our patients and for each other. This has been commented on from within the team but also by those observing externally. Working together in this way has resulted in positive, often life changing outcomes for patients when the risks have been high.
Really well done to the team and all colleagues who have supported this work – it certainly doesn’t begin and end within the four walls of the ED! I know that we will face sustained pressure through the winter period but we are in a much better position, compared to this time last year, to cope with that pressure. I am really proud of all you’ve achieved.
With best wishes for the week ahead.