Winter is upon us: How to get ahead

14 December 2018

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by Kathryn Lodge Director, Consulting

Email +44 (0)7793 020565

by Charlotte Weston Manager, Consulting

Email +44 (0)7483 399822

Winter in an NHS acute trust is often the year’s toughest period; with increased demand in the hospital and community causing immense pressure over the whole system. This can mean poor patient and staff experience and a loss of control of financials as the organisation firefights on a daily basis, tackling symptoms rather than the root causes of problems affecting performance. Increased demand is inevitable but there are ways to make this more manageable and help avoid the system failures that all too often occur.

Last week, talking about the pressure on trusts in the winter months, NHS England deputy chief executive Matthew Swindells said “the single biggest focus is on beds”. With winter here, NHS trusts need to think differently about how they manage patient flow and clinical care to free up those beds.

Our teams have been working on this at a number of trusts, supporting them and, in some cases, wider health systems to make sustainable step change improvements in patient flow through investing in their staff and technology. Using our PERFORM™ methodology we are working closely with clinical and management teams to change behaviours and improve teaming. This is sustained by digital adoption and effective governance.

By allowing our specialist team to undertake a week long ‘readiness assessment’, trusts can get a single, independent view on what needs to happen in order to rapidly solve some of the underlying problems affecting performance. Our comprehensive five-day assessment explores and analyses the factors affecting performance at every level alongside your teams. Our evidence based and data-driven recommendations are tested with key stakeholders across the organisation including clinicians, nurses, divisional management and senior leadership team.

It focuses through four key lenses:

  1. Processes to support flow
    Are the right processes and information in place to help teams deal with issues effectively? What unnecessary steps are getting in the way of enabling teams to respond?
  2. People at the heart
    Does the culture empower all teams at all levels to improve patient flow and how can you ensure you put your people at the heart?
  3. Data driven decisions
    Is performance understood at all levels and used to drive actions, decision making and communication across the Trust?
  4. Performance culture
    How effectively are your teams working to continuously identify and collaborate around opportunities to improve both patient flow and patient experience.

This can make a real difference. We have been partnering with hospitals across the country to coach and mentor teams to upskill and deliver patient flow transformation programmes, ensuring delivery of real and sustained outcomes as well as a huge improvement in engagement and culture .

We consistently see:

~15% reduction in length of stay
~10% decrease in seven day stranded patients
£10.5m through increased activity
~5% reduction in bed occupancy (~53 bed capacity created in larger hospitals)
6% improvement in Emergency Department performance

We’d be delighted to chat with you so please get in touch if you would like to hear more.

by Kathryn Lodge Director, Consulting

Email +44 (0)7793 020565

by Charlotte Weston Manager, Consulting

Email +44 (0)7483 399822