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Carlisle A&E team improvements result in up to 600 extra hours for patient care

The Rapid Process Improvement Workshop (RPIW) Accident & Emergency team

[T]he Accident & Emergency team at the Cumberland Infirmary in Carlisle has saved up to 600 hours of time a year to dedicate to patient care following an intensive improvement workshop which took place last week.

The team were the latest selected to take part in a Rapid Process Improvement Workshop (RPIW) which is supported by the Cumbria Learning and Improvement Collaborative (CLIC) who focus on positive transformations in health and care.

The workshop provided an opportunity for staff working in the department to take time out to discuss the main obstacles they face within their day-to-day roles and how these could be reduced as well as to improve efficiencies and provide staff with more time for face-to-face patient care.

The team, including medical, nursing, allied health professional staff and patient and volunteer representatives, quickly identified and implemented a number of improvements including:

  • Ensuring patients in the department are triaged within 15 minutes, aided by the introduction of a dedicated healthcare assistant for triage – this has already gone up from 65% to 85% this week alone
  • Through relocating commonly used documentation, the team will save on steps taken which leads to a saving of up to 400 hours per year of staff time which can then be used for providing patient care
  • Working with the team in Ambulatory Care, clear patient pathways are now displayed in the triage room meaning more patients can potentially be directed straight to Ambulatory Care for assessment and treatment
  • The Pharmacy team has been reviewing medicines management and is looking to create a dedicated area for drug preparation
  • The team has decided to take an ‘always cubicle’ approach by keeping computers and documentation close to patients so they can involve the patient at every stage and keep them better informed

Aimee Hall, sister on A&E at the Cumberland Infirmary, said: “It has been an exciting week for the team as we have worked through all of the ideas generated who are all so passionate about the care and service we deliver to our patients in a very busy department.

“In order for A&E to run smoothly, we have to work closely with colleagues across the other wards and departments and they have been really supportive of the work we have undertaken this week which has been great to see.

“We have learned that small changes really can make a big difference which has been eye-opening for us all. It has been hard for the team involved in the workshop to take a step back as we are so used to being hands on in the department but it has been absolutely worthwhile to be given the time, space and ownership to implement our improvements.”

Gill Long, head of nursing for clinical education and one of the leads for the improvement workshop, said: “I am so proud of the team for the drive and passion they have displayed this week. They work in a very challenged environment but their team spirit has shone through this week as well as their absolute commitment to making improvements for their colleagues and their patients.”

The team generated over 80 improvement ideas throughout the week and will now work to develop them over the coming weeks and months. 30, 60 and 90 day reviews will be held to ensure all improvements identified are continuing to be implemented.

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