Saturday, 6 June 2015

Good for the L&D hospital: leading the way again...

It does the heart good to find your local hospital doing really rather well.

The L&D: glad it's my local hospital
More than once, I’ve commented on the silent ward initiative being pioneered at the Luton and Dunstable hospital just up the road from me. It has the merit of focusing nursing effort on nursing – as opposed to answering phones, completing paperwork or dealing with administration generally. Equally admirable was the investment it was making in Discharge Planning (where my wife worked for a while): hospital nurses, district nurses and social workers worked out of a common office in the hospital, to ensure that patients could be discharged quickly but safely, with all the necessary support services in place.

Now it seems that the L&D is leading the way in another key area. I wrote the other day about the work being done by University Hospitals Birmingham, under the leadership of Chief Executive Julie Moore, on keeping up permanent staff numbers. So I was pleased to see a report on ITV about how the L&D is at the forefront of this kind of work too.

It quoted Chief Nurse Patricia Reid:

It doesn't matter how good an agency [nurse] is – and some of them are absolutely brilliant. The fact is the way they work they are in different hospitals some days, on different clinical wards, and that impacts on the continuity of patient care and undoubtedly impacts on long term quality.

Much the same point as Julie Moore was making: she reported that their own studies found that as soon as there were two or more temporary nurses on a ward, care quality suffered. You need your own people, used to working in your own teams, who know the patients and the processes on specific wards.

In addition, and the ITV report makes this clear, interviewing Jeremy Hunt, Health Secretary, on the subject, expenditure on agency nursing is far too high – twice expected levels. It must be cut for financial reasons, which makes it all the more satisfying that the result is likely to be an improvement in quality, not a loss.

That’s a real case of win-win.

Like University Hospitals Birmingham, the L&D is working deliberately and resolutely to cut its dependence on agency staff.

Now, I’d rather not have to go there if I possibly can. But just in case I really can’t avoid it at some time, I’m delighted to know that my local hospital – alongside Julie Moore’s – is right up there in the forefront of enlightened thinking.

Let’s hope that all the other hospitals soon follow in their wake.

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