Jul 012014
 

PeteStraw Image1A beautiful, sunny Llandudno greeted us on our arrival at the highly-anticipated 1000 Lives Improvement National Learning Event, a fantastic opportunity for healthcare practitioners and students to meet and discuss the notion of prudent healthcare and quality improvement within the NHS in Wales.

Welcome coffee and pastries lined the stomach for the launch session delivered by Professor Matthew Makin (Medical Director, BCUHB) and Dr Alan Wilson (Director, 1000 Lives Improvement), who introduced the concept of prudent healthcare – built on the three pillars of reducing avoidable harm, appropriately minimising intervention, and promoting co-production of health between service users and providers.

The talk was inspiring and informative, and I was particularly interested in the idea of empowering people to essentially take control of their own health, with healthcare professionals helping patients to make a choice, offering options and alternatives, but primarily placing the balance of power in the patient’s hands. In a later seminar, it was asked whether all patients would appreciate this level of involvement, though it was thought that while this could be scary for some, giving patients the opportunity to be more involved in their care would be beneficial for all.

In the “world cafe” style session, I found that I was able to talk on a relatively level playing field about healthcare improvement with other healthcare professionals. It was really encouraging that they felt our ideas had good grounding, despite only having been introduced to healthcare improvement earlier this year.

After lunch, students attended an emotional and inspirational talk from Dr Kate Granger. Her talk focused on her journey from her cancer diagnosis at the age of 29, her experiences while receiving treatment, and her campaign, #hellomynameis. Kate really put across amazingly the importance of ‘the little things’ – from a consoling hand on the arm, to a reassuring hug, to something as simple as introducing yourself. This really drew on the humanisation philosophy discussed in the morning; not just treating someone as a number, or a condition, but as a person. Kate told us that she hopes her legacy will be for patients to be treated as people, and reminded us that “a good physician treats the disease, a great physician treats the patient with the disease”- a valuable lesson. You can hear more from Kate in this video on the 1000 Lives Improvement YouTube channel.

Mary Dixon-Woods closed the event with a session on the importance of measurement- a key area to look at to make sure our improvements are effective. Her discussion of the purpose of measurement-  whether it is ‘problem-sensing’ (trying to reinforce a suspicion) or ‘comfort seeking’ (trying to dismiss a claim)- was particularly interesting. Her session closed the event on a real high note.

Thank you to 1000 Lives Improvement for organising such a great event, and for offering me (and my colleagues at Bangor University!) the chance to attend- it was even more valuable than I anticipated.

Pete Straw is a student nurse at Bangor University (Archimedes Centre, Wrexham campus). Twitter: @pete_straw

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