Jul 152014
 
GrantRobinson

Grant Robinson

Cwm Taf Health Board was a worthy winner of the Improving Patient Safety category at this year’s NHS Wales Awards for its project on patient flow.

By coordinating actions to make sure patients don’t wait unnecessarily for the care they need, health board staff have significantly reduced the time people spend waiting in ambulances and in the accident and emergency departments.

They’ve been able to demonstrate improved patient outcomes and experience, sometimes in areas they didn’t expect, and the changes have been sustained.

The Unscheduled Care Improvement Programme in Wales is designed to make it easy for people to get the right emergency and urgent care when it is needed, and to make sure that no-one has to wait unnecessarily for the care they need, or to go back to their home.

Continue reading »

Apr 222014
 
Dr Simon Noble

Dr Simon Noble

62% of people in Wales believe that air travel is the main cause of blood clots, according to research we worked on for the Ask about Clots campaign. And it’s a damaging misconception – because there is a far greater risk of develop a clot when in hospital.

In fact, you are 1000 times more likely to develop a clot during or in the 90 days following hospital treatment. That’s why the misconception is a fatal one, because blood clots can cost lives.

Through my work with Lifeblood, we’ve tried to raise awareness that blood clots are the most common cause of preventable hospital deaths. And the more people know about clots, the more likely it is we’ll be able to prevent them.

Ask about Clots Infographic 3 Parts Continue reading »

Apr 032014
 
Ruth Hussey

Dr Ruth Hussey, OBE

Today sees the launch of the Ask about Clots campaign, which I believe will play a significant role in reducing the numbers of people dying as a result of thrombosis.The new campaign, developed by 1000 Lives Improvement, is encouraging patients and members of the public to ask healthcare professionals about their risk of developing a thrombosis. This is particularly important as new research indicates that 62% of people in Wales believe they are more likely to develop thrombosis on an aeroplane than in hospital. The reality is that the risk is a thousand times greater for hospital patients.

In Wales, it’s estimated that every year 1,250 people who receive hospital treatment could die from a thrombosis that developed during or shortly after their hospital stay. A large percentage of these thrombosis-related deaths are preventable.

We know that behind every statistic lies a story. Michelle, from North Wales, has recorded a video interview about her daughter, Claire. At the age of 22, Claire collapsed and died of a pulmonary embolism.

Michelle is supporting the Ask about Clots campaign to raise awareness of thrombosis. She believes that if she had been more aware of the dangers of thrombosis, things could have been very different.

Claire had been unwell for a while, and had outlined her symptoms to doctors. However, the first time thrombosis was mentioned was in the coroner’s report. In the video, Michelle says, “If I had known what I know now and forced the issue for this to be checked, she would still be with us.”

We hope that Ask about Clots will help more people understand the risks of thrombosis, and be alert to it. This will lead to clinical staff and patients working in partnership to reduce the risk of thrombosis.

Encouraging people to Ask about Clots is therefore a great example of ‘co-production’ in healthcare. When people are informed and participating in their healthcare, we would expect to see improved health outcomes.

I am pleased to see the support for this campaign from healthcare professionals. We need to be ready to respond to patients when they ask about it so that they can be correctly assessed and the appropriate life-saving interventions provided.

Find out more at www.askaboutclots.co.uk

Dr Ruth Hussey, OBE, is the Chief Medical Officer for Wales. Find her on Twitter at @CMOWales

Read the report from the one day inquiry into thrombosis in hospitals

Mar 052014
 
Andrew Cooper

Andrew Cooper

Meet Chris Hancock. He’s passionate about helping colleagues in NHS Wales to identify and treat sepsis. He wants to see as many lives as possible saved from a condition that kills more people than breast cancer, prostate cancer and HIV/AIDS combined.

Last year, Chris added Twitter and blogging to his skill set to help him in his work. And since then, he’s joined – and started – conversations about sepsis with individuals and organisations in Wales, across the UK and around the world.

Those conversations have informed and shaped his thinking on the subject. They have enabled him to tap into the latest national and international research, build strategic relationships – as well as share the ground-breaking work colleagues in Wales are leading to address the challenge of this deadly condition. Continue reading »

Mar 032014
 

A member of our student community, Ilaria Pignatelli, is the Campaign Manager for Ask One Question. She tells us about their simple pledge for NHS Change Day.

Ilaria Pignatelli

Ilaria Pignatelli

We ask a lot of questions through medical school. History taking and skills practice bring up some valid questions, but are we always asking the right ones?

The thought of visiting hospital can be a scary and unpleasant experience for many patients, so after asking all the routine questions; why not ask: “What can I do to improve your stay?”

The Ask One Question campaign is doing just that. It’s a world-wide, student-led healthcare improvement initiative, encouraging students to ask their patients: “What can I do to improve your stay?” and, when possible, act on their requests. It was started by students in Cardiff who have already gained recognition outside of Wales.1, 2 Continue reading »

Feb 202014
 
Paul Gimson

Paul Gimson

Imagine what a primary care service might look like if we gave the patients the money and asked them to design it themselves. This was the story I heard recently at a presentation given by the Southcentral Foundation, a citizen-owned health-service provider based in Anchorage, Alaska.

The presentation was at a recent event in Cardiff looking at Southcentral Foundation’s Nuka system of primary care. It’s ‘A customer-owner driven overhaul of a bureaucratic system centrally controlled, to one in which the local people are in control.’ It is the use of this term customer-owner which is one of the most striking features of the Nuka system.

The idea of a patient as a customer might feel wrong in the context of the NHS, but in this case the term represented a shift from a service designed around a medical model to one where the patient’s needs were put first. The provocative question for us is, if we considered patients as customers would that improve the experience of being a patient in NHS Wales? Continue reading »

Jan 292014
 
Mike Davidge

Mike Davidge

It’s very difficult to empty a bath without pulling out the plug, especially if the taps are still on.

That’s a useful analogy to bear in mind when we are thinking about the pressures on A&E departments, particularly as we head into winter with the dreaded ‘winter pressures’.

But would you be surprised to know that demand for A&E services doesn’t vary much with seasons and certainly doesn’t spike in the winter? So, where do all those delays come from? Continue reading »

Jan 112014
 

Lesley Jenkins reflects on what winning an NHS Wales Award meant to everyone involved, in a project to improve hospital signage.

Well, it’s been quite a year since we won the NHS Wales Award! I have Skyped about our idea with other organisations in Australia, another enquiry has arrived from New Zealand, and we have also gone on to win more accolades. All this from a hospital project to improve signage!

Let me take you back to the beginning. Continue reading »

Dec 162013
 
Mike Spencer

Mike Spencer

Here’s a challenge. How do we best make sure patients get person-centred care at a time when resources in the whole of the public sector are being stretched? Part of the answer lies in co-production, something that is currently being widely talked about in Wales.

 If a part of the healthcare system is outdated, cluttered, or simply not providing person-centred care, among the first to notice this will be patients. When we’re working within an already established system, it can sometimes be hard to see how things could be done differently.

Continue reading »

Nov 112013
 
Dr Alan Willson

Dr Alan Willson

There is much talk of ‘co-production’ in public services these days. The idea is that if you allow the people who use the service at least an equal role in designing and managing it, you end up with a much better service.

This is a change of mindset which relies on professionals letting go some control and learning new skills.

But as the recently launched nocturnal home renal dialysis service in Abertawe Bro Morgannwg University Health Board (ABMUHB) shows, this approach really can be better than the way we usually work. Continue reading »