Cumbria Crack

NHS Improvement projects reap benefits for patients

Specialist Dentistry Lead Alan Price (left) with Professor John Howarth

[T]en NHS teams celebrated completion of their improvement projects last week highlighting significant improvements for patients in Cumbria.  The teams including palliative care, specialist dentistry, diabetes and physiotherapy took part in 20 week projects using improvement methodologies and came together to share the outcome of their work at a celebration event last week.  They included:

The Specialist Dental Service which provides a wide range of dental services for people in Cumbria who have a specialist or special care need have halved the referral to treatment times for patients. Alan Price the clinical dental lead said, “In just 20 weeks we have worked together to streamline the patient journey and created a one stop shop for assessment which has reduced waiting time dramatically.  It is also much more efficient and saves clinical time so there are benefits all round.”

The physiotherapy team at the Cumberland Infirmary have worked with the eden community team to reduce the number of people who need to be admitted to hospital by ensuring they are assessed and cared for in the community.  Helen McGahon Head of Physiotherapy said, between July and September 14 patients with complex discharge planning needs had rapid discharges back to their home with the Eden Community response team providing the rehabilitation.  Without this shared communication these patients would have been admitted to the acute wards to plan the discharges.  Even if we assume these patients could be discharged in the ambition of 72 hours this is 42 bed days saved.   The quality added is the patients are where  want to be, home,  and they do not decondition which is preventing further complications.

Specialist Diabetes Nurse Rachel McAllister has worked with staff at West Cumberland Hospital to improve awareness among staff of the patients who required their specialist support which ensures that they can focus on the patients who really need them.

The Specialist Palliative Care Team and Community Care Group have worked collaboratively to develop a self-assessment tool for all services that provide End of Life Care within Cumbria Partnership NHS Foundation Trust.   The self- assessment tool will enable teams to identify any gaps in skills and knowledge and identify what services can do for themselves and also what the organisation needs to do. This tool will now be implemented across the Trust, with the aim of having a workforce that are skilled and knowledgeable to deliver Excellent end of life care to all patients. There has been interest in implementing this in other organisations and NHS Improvement have commended the work.

A further six teams completed their projects last week bringing the total number of teams who have been through the process to 46.

Professor John Howarth, the Deputy Chief Executive at Cumbria Partnership NHS Foundation Trust & North Cumbria University Hospitals NHS Trust presented staff with their certificates and said, “It’s important to pause and celebrate this work and events such as these are great for sharing best practice across teams – it has been fantastic to see the improvements for patients, and the great buzz among our teams for this improvement work.”

Lynn Marsland, Director of Workforce & Organisational Development said, “Attending these events is one of my most favourite things to do because you can see and feel the real benefit this has not only brought to our patients but the positive impact on individuals within these teams.  We are taking this improvement work forward under the banner of “Engaging for Improvement” –  with new projects, including joint work with our colleagues in North CUH and UHMBT, kicking off today too.”

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