Jun 292015
Jan Davies

Jan Davies

Last week, a 1000 Lives Improvement master class looked at using ‘annual quality statements’ as a way of supporting improvement and celebrating the successes of NHS Wales organisations and its staff.

Since 2013 every NHS Wales organisation has been required to produce an Annual Quality Statement (AQS). This year the Welsh Government has produced the NHS Wales AQS covering the whole country for the first time.

The AQS is important because it presents information for the public  and patients about services in NHS Wales in an accessible, easy-to-read format. It’s easy to get bogged down in data and statistics, and if figures are presented without any context then it’s hard to know if they represent good performance or whether urgent improvement is needed.

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Dec 092014
Peter Bradley

Professor Peter Bradley

There are several strategic-level concepts being discussed across NHS Wales right now – ideas like prudent healthcare, co-production, and shared decision making. These promise to be transformational – not just changing what services NHS Wales delivers, but how they are delivered as well.

The key theme in all these big ideas is closer partnership working between the people delivering healthcare and the people using the services. But how does this work in practice? How can we take abstract ideas and make them a reality?

Recently, I chaired Empowering Communities to Better Health, a fascinating online seminar on how to engage with people to produce healthier communities. This was a truly international occasion – hosted here in Wales with contributors from New Zealand and the USA.

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Nov 182014
Matt Wyatt

Matt Wyatt

Population health has been defined as “the health outcomes of a group of individuals, including the distribution of such outcomes within the group”.[1]

I think that’s a bit dry! I like to think of population health at the scale of a community; with a diverse interaction of people who support one and other to respond, adapt and flourish in the face of life’s challenges. For me, the impact is all about people living better and for longer, within their chosen community.

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Jul 152014

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.

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May 092014
Andrew Cooper

Andrew Cooper

We recently launched the Ask about Clots campaign in Wales.

It aims to increase public awareness over the risk of developing a blood clot while in hospital. The health campaign’s simple message encourages individuals to ask about their personal risk so that they can be assessed and treated appropriately.

As we know, the major consideration for any campaign is what will actually engage people and motivate them to take the desired action?

In developing Ask about Clots, we focussed on three main areas which we believed were necessary to enable and encourage people to start asking! 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 072014
Ruth Hussey

Lloyd Evans

Clots. A word many have heard of, but I wonder how many understand the effect this five-letter word has on the health and wellbeing of our population.  The answer according to the Ask about Clots campaign launched last week: not enough!

As a final-year medical student approaching the start of a career within the NHS, I attended the launch of Ask about Clots with the realisation that in a little over four months, this topic would well and truly be hitting me square in the face.  Despite years of lectures, tutorials, and clinical attachments, I was taken aback by the facts: 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

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 »

Dec 192013
Sian Bolton

Sian Bolton

The impact of poverty and inequality in our society is clearly seen in the field of healthcare. There is a significant difference in the life expectancy of the most deprived and least deprived people in our society – over a decade in some areas.

One factor in this is healthcare provision. Services in more deprived areas tend to be less effective in identifying illness and helping people look after their health, than those services in less deprived areas. This is known as the ‘inverse care law’.

The inverse care law is based on work done here in Wales by Dr Julian Tudor-Hart back in the 1960s that looked at inequities in health care. He noted that the most deprived people with the most health needs were the ones who least accessed services from a health point of view. Continue reading »