Remote monitoring scheme reaches all eligible patients in England

With support from England’s 15 Patient Safety Collaboratives including here in the West of England, patients at risk from COVID-19 now have access to a national programme designed to provide an early-warning system if their condition worsens.

During the pandemic, reduced oxygen saturation levels have been shown to be a key identifier of deterioration in patients with confirmed or suspected COVID-19. COVID Oximetry @home uses pulse oximeters for patients to safely self-monitor their condition at home, providing an opportunity to detect a decline in their condition that might require hospital review and admission.

The programme is managed by NHS England and NHS Improvement, in partnership with NHSX and NHS Digital.

From a starting point of 20% of Clinical Commissioning Groups in November 2020, 100% of CCGs had established a fully operational COVID Oximetry @home pathway by early February.

By mid-February 2021, over 1,600 patients had been supported through COVID Oximetry @ home and virtual ward models in the West of England. Read more about this collaborative programme, including the patient’s journey, here. 

Patient Safety Collaboratives (hosted by Academic Health Science Networks) supported this rapid spread by working closely with CCGs in their region to offer quality improvement expertise, access to training and resources, data collection and evaluation, and by facilitating a national learning network.

The COVID virtual ward model is a secondary-care-led initiative, using remote pulse oximetry monitoring to support early and safe discharge from hospital (step-down care) for COVID patients. 94% of acute trusts now have access to a COVID virtual ward, an increase of 69% since the beginning of the year.

Natasha Swinscoe, national patient safety lead for the AHSN Network and Chief Executive Officer of the West of England AHSN, said:

‘We have learned so much during this pandemic, and this impressive uptake in the use of pulse oximetry has undoubtedly saved lives. It has also allowed us to ensure, where appropriate, we can provide safe care for vulnerable people shielding at home through simple, remote monitoring.

‘I’m proud of the role Patient Safety Collaboratives have taken, providing support and assistance ‘on the ground’ to establish completely new ways of working in such a short space of time.’

This intensive PSC support to implement these pathways is due to wind down at the end of March 2021, with AHSNs continuing to support systems to embed @home models in the long-term.

Find out more about how we’re supporting our systems with COVID Oximetry @home and virtual wards. 

A year on since the start of the pandemic, Consultant Acute Physician, Matt Inada Kim, reflects on the simple device (a pulse oximeter) that has been a lifeline for thousands of COVID patients & transformed the way the NHS delivers care.

Read Matt’s blog here.

Working collaboratively to improve patient safety during COVID-19

Since mid-November, the West of England AHSN has been supporting our three STP systems with the rapid implementation of the COVID Oximetry @home service (a step up pathway) to help detect the early signs of deterioration in patients with confirmed or suspected COVID-19. More recently, since mid-January, COVID Virtual Wards (‘step-down’ pathways to help enable people in hospital with Covid-related illness to return home safely as soon as possible) are also being rolled out across the region.

By working collaboratively, over 1,600 patients have now been supported by these programmes across the region.

Both of the pathways feature enhanced monitoring for patients with a confirmed COVID case – pulse oximeters are used by the patient to identify ‘silent hypoxia’ (a reduction in oxygen levels in the blood with no other obvious clinical signs). These services built on learning from the first wave of the COVID-19 pandemic and make use of clear escalation pathways based on the person’s oxygen saturation levels in the blood (which are known as sats).

The West of England AHSN has provided a supportive role to our three STP systems, helping drive collaboration within, and across, each region with over 1500 patients having been supported across the step up service (COVID Oximetry @home) and over 100 patients on the step down service (COVID Virtual Ward) thus far.

Crucially for patient safety, these services were demonstrated to reduce mortality, reduce inappropriate hospital admissions (findings also suggest monitoring sats allows patients to be admitted to hospital before they have severely deteriorated), reduce the length of hospital admissions and escalation to intensive care wards.

Both COVID pathways have been fast-paced implementations of new services, largely from a standing start, with most systems in our region rapidly launching the pathways within a few weeks of the publication of national guidance from NHS England.

Hein Le Roux, Joint Clinical Lead for Gloucestershire CO@H, also Clinical Lead West of England AHSN, and GP at Churchdown, said:

“The COVID Oximetry @Home service has had a real impact on my patients who have developed COVID. In Gloucestershire, over 1100 patients have been referred to the service and for the majority it has provided reassurance that they have not developed the potentially fatal silent hypoxia. For the few people who did deteriorate, we were able to identify them early and prioritise their care with steroids and oxygen in the hospital setting.

This has meant they were less unwell prior to receiving treatment and have thus recovered more quickly. It has also shown that by working together as a care system between primary care, the COVID Oximetry @Home service, South Western Ambulance Service NHS Foundation Trust and our acute colleagues, we have improved patient care”.

Michelle Reader, Chief Operating Officer from Medvivo said:

“The Medvivo-provided oximetry monitoring services are a testament to the collaborative and system-wide approach that was taken across BaNES, Swindon and Wiltshire (BSW). Once we’d offered to provide the service for the region we felt really supported by colleagues in commissioning, primary care, secondary care, community services and the AHSN. This allowed these services to be established very quickly, enabling us to provide valuable supportive services to the people of BSW.

The sharing of learning from other areas was really important. I’ve never been part of such a rapid system-wide collaboration, and there was a real ‘can do attitude’ from all involved. It’s been a learning process and we continue to learn and develop the service. The feedback from the patients has been fantastic – this makes all the efforts worthwhile.”

To find out more about COVID Oximetry @home and COVID Virtual Wards, including implementation packs and recorded webinars, please visit our dedicated COVID-19 webpages.

The below case study demonstrates the impact of the COVID Oximetry @home pathway through the story of one patient who we will call John*:

  • Day 1 – John is a 57 year old gentlemen who has developed cough and fever.
  • Day 2 – John takes a COVID test
  • Day 3 – John receives a positive COVID test result. John’s GP contacts him and he is placed in ‘at risk group’ for silent hypoxia & deterioration. John is referred to the COVID Oximetry @Home (step up care pathway) and provided with pulse oximeter.
  • Day 4 – John receives advice on how to use the service for daily monitoring of blood oxygen saturations through a digital monitoring platform. John’s sats are recorded at 95%.
  • Day 7 – John’s sats are now 91% (this is now in the parameter of silent hypoxia). John is contacted by the service provider where he advises he is feeling ‘okay’. John’s advised to call 999 urgently for hospital assessment and possible treatment.
  • Day 7 to 10 – John is admitted to hospital and given dexamethasone and oxygen. John’s sats gradually improve over the next three days.
  • Day 10 – John is discharged home after four days in hospital. John is now monitored on the COVID Virtual Ward (step down pathway).
  • Day 13 – John has made steady progress and is discharged from the COVID Virtual Ward service and sign posted to Long-COVID pathway & given safety netting information.

Without the COVID Oximetry @home service and use of a pulse oximeter, John may not have known he was significantly unwell and could have required more extensive hospital treatment, or potentially even died. These services have not only a positive impact for the patient but the positive impacts are seen across primary and secondary care.

*John is not the patient’s real name.

Patient safety in partnership

The AHSN Network has made a significant contribution during the first year of the NHS Patient Safety Strategy. An update on its patient safety plan – one year on outlines the impact England’s AHSNs, including the West of England, had improving safety in hospitals, maternity and neonatal units, care homes and the community.

It also describes how AHSNs and the Patient Safety Collaboratives they host have responded to the COVID-19 pandemic, supporting programmes on tracheostomy safety and the use of pulse oximeters to safely monitor patients at home.

The report, ‘Patient safety in partnership: Our plan for a safer future 2019-2025’, was first published in September 2019. It sets out how AHSNs and PSCs will contribute to the NHS Patient Safety Strategy, through the PSCs’ work supporting the delivery of the National Patient Safety Improvement Programme and the AHSNs’ focus on accelerating innovation.

Natasha Swinscoe, lead AHSN Network chief officer for patient safety, said:

“AHSNs and PSCs have a unique ability to connect people, and work at both system level and with individual organisations to capitalise on opportunities. Our response to COVID-19 for example was swift, agile and effective.

We know there is a huge amount of enthusiasm and dedication for patient safety work, and through the Patient Safety Plan we look forward to exploring more ways we can collaborate with our many partners.”

Examples featured in the report include tools to spot and manage patients at risk of serious illness in hospitals and care homes, discharge safety bundles, and award-winning projects to support premature babies and their families.

You can download the AHSN Network patient safety plan here.

Find out more about the West of England’s patient safety work here.

AHSN Network has benefited more than 479,000 patients and generated £322.3 million inward investment for UK economy

The innovation delivery arm of the NHS, the AHSN Network, has released its Impact Report 2018-2020. The report highlights outstanding impacts achieved by AHSNs, including the West of England, and evidences how they are driving adoption and spread in healthcare innovation, transforming patient outcomes, enabling efficiencies, saving the NHS money, generating economic growth and attracting millions of pounds of investment for the country’s economy.

The report also details how AHSNs have mobilised quickly to COVID-19 to support the NHS and health and social care response.

National programmes

Commissioned by NHS England, England’s 15 AHSNs delivered seven programmes during 2018-20, developed regionally and selected for national adoption and spread, which are benefiting more than 479,000 patients: Atrial Fibrillation, Emergency Laparotomy, ESCAPE-pain, PINCER, Prevention of Cerebral Palsy in PreTerm Labour (PReCePT), Serenity Integrated Mentoring (SIM) and Transfer of Care Around Medicines (TCAM).

Key national programme findings from the report show that 13,387 fewer patients are at risk from harm from medication errors as a result of PINCER. The Network’s atrial fibrillation work has helped prevent 11,734 strokes and saved 2,933 lives. Whilst 8,472 people with chronic joint pain have participated in ESCAPE-pain courses.

AHSNs also play a key role in supporting the NHS to adopt new, better and more effective technologies through playing a leading role in supporting the NHS Accelerated Access Collaborative (AAC), by operation as the local agencies to drive adoption of Innovation and Technology Payment (ITP) and Rapid Uptake Products (RUPs).

Economic growth

From 2019-2020, the AHSN Network has generated almost £322.3 million inward investment for our nation, and created and / or protected over 1,000 jobs during this time.

The AHSN Network helps mobilise the value that the NHS can add as an economic asset to the UK economy. AHSNs broker access to a range of expert support and services across the health and care sectors that support NHS innovators and companies to realise the commercial and economic potential of their ideas.

The latest round of company surveys conducted by the AHSN Network show remarkable progress in the health innovation sector. Find out more about how the AHSN Network has attracted millions of pounds of investment for the country’s economy.

Patient safety

England’s 15 Patient Safety Collaboratives (PSCs) have significantly contributed to the NHS Patient Safety Strategy through their work on managing deterioration, maternity and neonatal safety, and adoption and spread programmes.

PSCs play an essential role in identifying and spreading safety improvement programmes (SIPs) to create sustainable and continuous improvement in settings such as maternity units, emergency departments, mental health trusts, GP practices and care homes.

Successes include spreading the National Early Warning Score (NEWS2) to 99% of all acute hospital trusts, a 92% uptake of a discharge care bundle for patients with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), and more than 120,000 views of a series of training films developed for care home staff.

Review our regional Patient Safety programme here.

COVID-19

To support the COVID-19 response AHSNs pivoted their expertise and resources, highlighting their unique ability to be able to work with regional health systems to spread innovation, whilst collaborating across England to drive rapid transformative change across large geographies.

Key examples of AHSNs responding to the pandemic include; providing expertise to NHS regions, by embedding staff in regional COVID-19 response cells, which was equivalent to 157 full time staff. And working with NHSX and NHS Digital, AHSNs help to drive digitisation of primary care, achieving a near-total uptake of video and online consultations in two months across GP practices in England. We also published a rapid-learning report on our patient safety work, ‘Safer care during COVID-19’.

By autumn 2020, AHSNs were continuing to support the COVID-19 response whilst providing expert input to regional NHS planning around the restoration and recovery of services. Nationally, AHSNs have also been leading the NHS ‘Reset’ campaign with NHS Confederation and the Health Foundation and have been playing a key supporting role in the NHS Beneficial Changes Network, focusing on ‘locking in’ learning from the pandemic.

Find out more about how we are working with health and social care colleagues across our region to keep people safe during and after COVID-19.

Piers Ricketts, Chair of the AHSN Network and Chief Executive of Eastern AHSN said:

“We are achieving results that make a real difference for patients and service users, as well as healthcare professionals, innovators and NHS organisations. These strong foundations make us ideally placed to help all those involved in improving and innovating health and care to tackle together the challenges that lie ahead.

The AHSNs’ response to COVID-19 has highlighted how our core strengths and ways of working have proved a valued asset to our partners. AHSNs are agile and well connected organisations, and we were able to mobilise and respond to this new crisis almost overnight, providing additional support and brokering relationships across health and care, research and academia, industry and the voluntary sectors.”

New national programmes

From April 2020, AHSNs are working on three new national programmes;

  • Focus ADHD; a number of AHSNs are working with mental health trusts and community paediatric services to improve the assessment process for Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) using computer-based tests (measuring attention, impulsivity and activity).
  • Early Intervention Eating Disorders; a number of AHSNs are supporting mental health teams across England to speed up diagnosis and treatment of eating disorders in young people aged 16 to 25.
  • Lipid management and FH; AHSNs are scoping a national programme of work around cardiovascular disease (CVD) prevention, which is anticipated to start in autumn 2020.

Review our regional work on FOCUS ADHD and Early Intervention Eating Disorders.

AHSNs continue to support national NHS initiatives such as the National Innovation Accelerator (NIA), Small Business Research Initiatives (SBRI) and Clinical Entrepreneurs programme and developing work on new and emerging NHS priorities such as workforce innovation.

Read the full AHSN Network Impact Report 2018-2020.  

Flu resources launched: People with a learning disability are at greater risk of developing serious illness

The national flu campaign to encourage uptake of the free flu vaccination, particularly amongst at risk groups, has launched.

Individuals with a learning disability are identified as an ‘at risk’ group and are therefore entitled to a free flu vaccine. As are their carers, whether that is a family member or paid support staff who care for the individual day-to-day.

As such, the West of England AHSN and our Learning Disabilities Collaborative will be continuing to share advice and raise awareness of the importance of individuals with a learning disability, their families and carers, getting the flu vaccination throughout winter.

On behalf of the NHS, Misfits Theatre Company have created a great video which tackles the misinformation surrounding the flu vaccination head on and urges people with learning disabilities and their carers (family member or support worker) to not delay in getting their free flu vaccine.

You can watch the video here.

People who have a learning disability can be more susceptible to the effects of flu and are therefore at increased risk of developing complications such as bronchitis or pneumonia. As the NHS emerges from the covid pandemic, anyone with a learning disability is encouraged to get their free vaccination and annual health check to help stay well this winter.

Carers of anyone with a learning disability are also entitled to the free vaccination. All carers (family member or support worker) are urged to ensure they are registered at their local GP practice as a carer of someone with a learning disability. Individuals should also be on their GP Learning Disability Register to access the very best care.

Now is the time that GP practices and community pharmacies are carrying out vaccinations for those at risk. The vaccine offers the best level of protection from the flu virus, and it’s important to have the vaccine every year, especially as the flu virus strain changes every year. Anyone who is defined as being in an ‘at risk’ group should contact their surgery and arrange an appointment to have the vaccine.

Having the vaccine sooner provides the individual with protection over a longer period of time; it also helps reduce the chances of spreading the virus to family and friends.

Watch this NHS England and Improvement video where Camilla, who has a learning disability, talks about getting her flu jab. 

Hannah Little, our Patient Safety Improvement Lead and Senior Project Manager said:

“Flu is a very unpleasant illness. The symptoms can be miserable for many of us, but it can lead to more serious complications for those who fall within certain clinical ‘at risk’ groups. Some people with a learning disability can be more susceptible to flu and can go on to develop more serious complications like pneumonia. Respiratory conditions remain the most significant causes of premature mortality for people with a learning disability where deaths have been reviewed as part of the LeDeR programme.

I’d urge people to make sure they have the vaccination as soon as possible. They should also ask to have their Annual Health Check, which our Learning Disabilities Collaborative discussed at our September 2020 webinar. Carers of anyone with a learning disability should also get the free vaccine from their GP surgery or community pharmacy, the sooner the better to get the best possible protection.”

 

The full pack of winter flu resources for people with learning disabilities and their carers (which includes high resolution resources for social media, communications toolkit and grab pack for professionals) is available on the NHS England and Improvement website.

The flu vaccine is also free for patients in the following at risk groups:
• Those aged 65 years or over (including those becoming age 65 years by 31 March 2021)
• Those aged from 6 months to less than 65 years of age with a serious medical condition such as:
• Chronic (long term) respiratory disease, such as severe asthma, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) or bronchitis.
• Chronic heart disease – (such as heart failure).
• Chronic kidney disease (at stages three, four or five).
• Chronic liver disease.
• Chronic neurological disease such as Parkinson’s disease or motor neurone disease
• Diabetes
• Splenic dysfunction
• Reduced immune system due to disease (such as HIV/AIDS) or treatment (such as cancer treatment)
• Morbidly obese (defined as BMI of 40 and above)
• All pregnant women (including those women who become pregnant during the flu season)
• All children aged 2 and 3 years

• All children in school years R through to year 5
• People living in long-stay residential care homes, or other long-stay care facilities where rapid spread is likely to follow the introduction of infection and cause high morbidity and mortality.
• People who are in receipt of a carer’s allowance, or those who are the main carer of an older or disabled person whose welfare may be at risk if the carer falls ill
• Consideration should also be given to the vaccination of household contacts of immunocompromised individuals, specifically individuals who expect to share living accommodation on most days over the winter and therefore for whom continuing close contact is unavoidable

Supporting Care Homes: Transfer of Care Around Medicines

Since 2018, as one of the AHSN Network’s national adoption and spread programmes, Transfer of Care Around Medicines (TCAM) has been an important medicines safety project for the West of England AHSN.

Upon discharge from hospital, 30-70% of patients experience unintentional changes to their medications or an error is made because of a miscommunication. 37%1 of older patients experience medication related harm within eight weeks of discharge. This was estimated to cost the NHS £396m per year. These errors can also result in patients being readmitted to hospital.

TCAM identifies patients in hospital who need additional support with their medicines, often people using multi-compartmental compliance aids. These patients are referred for pharmacy input in the community.

We know through our recent project work commissioned via the national network of Patient Safety Collaboratives that medication errors in care homes is a significant issue, and that residents medications upon discharge from hospitals are a consistent concern nationally.

The COVID-19 pandemic brought a renewed focus from NHS England and a national call to action for the NHS to support the “provision of pharmacy and medication support to care homes”.  Building on the communication system utilised to deliver the TCAM project, our response pivoted to supporting reviews of new care home residents or those recently discharged from hospital by sending messages directly to community based pharmacy teams that support care homes with their medicines management.

Working collaboratively with member organisations and commissioners, the West of England AHSN is testing the hypothesis that utilising the TCAM communication system to refer to pharmacy teams that support care homes will mirror the impact identified in the nationally commissioned programme and reduce medication errors and potentially reduce readmission rates1,2,3,4.

Our medicines optimisation programme benefits from active and experienced colleagues from member organisations who form the Medicines Safety Steering Group. Through this group, experience and understanding was utilised to build on the original TCAM programme for the benefit of care home residents. In responding to our commissioner’s renewed focus, the collaborative and cross-system nature of AHSNs was demonstrated by the implementation of this project at pace in one regional trust.

Chris Learoyd, Project Manager said:

“Listening to our member organisations, care homes and understanding their needs and regional system(s) was crucial. The COVID-19 pandemic has changed many things, but the AHSN’s approach to project delivery has remained. The reactive, adaptive and collaborative practices required in responding to the COVID-19 pandemic have indeed drew-upon the AHSN’s approach: supporting healthcare innovation, quality improvement across the system; generating additional capacity, avoiding unnecessary costs whilst enhancing safety across the health and social care sector”.

References:

  1. Sabir FR, Tomlinson J, Strickland-Hodge B, Smith H. Evaluating the Connect with Pharmacy webbased intervention to reduce hospital readmission for older people. International Journal of Clinical Pharmacy. https://doi.org/10.1007/s11096-019-00887-3
  2. Nazar H, Brice S, Akhter N, Kasim A, Gunning A, Slight SP, Watson NW. New transfer of care initiative of electronic referral from hospital to community pharmacy in England: a formative service evaluation. BMJ Open. https://doi:10.1136/bmjopen-2016-012532
  3. Mantzourani E, Nazar H, Phibben C, Pang J, John G, Evans A, Thomas H, Way C, Hodson K. Exploring the association of the discharge medicines review with patient hospital readmissions through national routine data linkage in Wales: a retrospective cohort study. BMJ Open. http://dx.doi.org/10.1136/bmjopen-2019-033551
  4. Wilcock M, Sibley A, Blackwell R, Kluettgenas B, Robsen S, Bastian L. Involving community pharmacists in transfer of care from hospital: Indications of reduced 30-day hospital readmission rates for patients in Cornwall. International Journal of Pharmacy Practice.  http://doi:10.1111/ijpp.12603

HSJ Patient Safety Award Nominations

Two of the West of England AHSN’s member organisations have been nominated across five categories in the 2020 HSJ Patient Safety Awards.

Avon and Wiltshire Mental Health Partnership Trust (AWMHP) received three nominations:

    • Learning Disabilities Initiative of the Year (Improving Patient Safety on the Daisy Unit),
    • Mental Health Initiative of the Year (Reducing Restrictive Practice on a Medium Secure Unit) and
    • Quality Improvement Initiative of the Year (A Collaborative QI approach to improving the quality of care on the Daisy Unit).

Royal United Hospitals (RUH) Bath received two nominations:

      • Deteriorating Patients & Rapid Response Systems Award (Improving Patient Outcomes from Sepsis and Acute Kidney Injury) and
      • Patient Safety Team of the Year (The Sepsis and Kidney Injury Prevention (SKIP) team improving outcomes for patients).

In a news release, Dr Lesley Jordan, RUH Consultant Anaesthetist and Patient Safety Lead at the RUH, said: “We’re very proud to be shortlisted and recognised for our continued work in improving outcomes for patients with sepsis and acute kidney injury.

“Sepsis is a life-threatening reaction to an infection, when a person’s immune system overreacts and starts to damage the body’s tissues and organs. Acute kidney injury is when a person’s kidneys suddenly stop working properly, usually as complication of an acute illness, and this can range from minor loss of kidney function to complete kidney failure.

“These can have serious consequences and early detection of both conditions is really important to improve outcomes for patients. We have focused on identifying the conditions as early as possible, introducing process and tools to enable our frontline staff to implement treatment promptly and improve the care we deliver. We have also established a new senior nursing support team, the Sepsis and Kidney Injury Prevention (SKIP) team, to continue to drive this work and support frontline staff.”

Nominees will be presenting their work virtually to a panel of judges to decide the category winner, which will be announced at a virtual awards ceremony in November. You can read the full list of award categories and nominations here.

The West of England AHSN wishes both AWMHP and RUH every success with their nominations.

New online video training for care home staff

Wessex and the West of England Academic Health Science Networks (AHSNs), and West Hampshire CCG, funded by Health Education England, have collaborated to produce a series of free videos and e-learning materials to support staff working in care homes to care for residents who are at risk of deterioration.

As recognised in a recent paper supported by North East and North Cumbria AHSN, identifying acute illness, including sepsis, amongst older adults in care homes can be difficult, and opportunities to initiate appropriate care may be missed, if illness is not recognised promptly.

Videos

The short videos describe how to take measurements from residents correctly (such as blood pressure and oxygen saturation), spots the signs of deterioration, and prevent the spread of infection.

You can access them via Health Education England’s e-Learning for Healthcare (e-LfH) Hub, an educational web-based platform that provides quality assured online training content for the UK’s health and care workforce here.

You can also view the full suite of videos on our designated YouTube channel.

Natasha Swinscoe, national lead for patient safety for the AHSN Network says:

“Patient safety is a guiding principle for all AHSNs. Our care homes report highlighted numerous successes that AHSNs have had working with care homes across the country. Collectively, these have the potential to save many lives and tens of millions of pounds. I am excited to see the launch of these videos, which will support care home staff to be trained in a consistent way to recognise and respond to the soft signs of deterioration”.

This is one of a range of tools which AHSNs are supporting to provide training materials to up skill people who work in care homes, which will be published on our website over the coming weeks. This follows the AHSN network report, which highlighted over 30 examples of projects delivered by England’s 15 Patient Safety Collaboratives (PSCs) and the AHSNs which host them, published in September 2019.

Guidance for care home staff to register for an account

To register for e-Learning for Healthcare visit this link.

Select the ‘Register’ button. Select the option ‘I am a care home or hospice worker’ then enter your care home / hospice name or postcode and select it from the options available in the drop-down list. Finally enter your care home / hospice registration code and select ‘Register’. You may need to see your employer to get this code.

If your employer does not have a code, then they need to contact the e-LfH Support Team. The Support Team can either give the employer the registration code or arrange a bulk upload of all staff.

Detailed instructions on how to gain access are available here.

Quick start guide to e-LfH hub is also available here.

Collaborating for a safety culture in primary care

At the end of May, colleagues from 13 primary care practices from across the West of England, including GPs, practice managers, practice nurses and quality and safety leads, came together for the first meeting of our new Primary Care Collaborative.

The event was opened by our  Patient Safety Programme Director Ann Remmers who spoke about the context for collaboration. Dr Hein Le Roux, GP & Primary Care Lead for Patient Safety for the West of England AHSN, then explained how collaboration was a combination of people and technical skills. He told a cautionary tale of the Choluteca bridge and painted a picture of what better could look like in primary care. He explained how taking a systems approach could tackle some of the challenges through collaboration, and gave an example of a patient in his care where their care could have been better, and shared the learning from that incident.

Stephen Ray, Quality Improvement Programme Manager, expored why things go wrong in a systems context and some of the methods to take a systematic approach to quality improvement to build reliable systems. He explained the clinical microsystems approach, the model for improvement, and case studies from his experience working on improvement with GP practices.

All the presentations from our speakers are available here.

Attendees told us they really valued the time to meet other practices, learn from others and discuss subjects that they don’t normally get time to. There was great feedback about the speakers and group sessions, and the bacon sandwiches first thing were a big hit! They made a list of actions to take away from the day including looking at their existing processes and communications, developing a map of responsibilities, using PDSA and changing their language from “significant event” to “learning event”.

At our next meeting in September, the Collaborative agreed to focus more on sharing learning from particular examples from practices, with in-depth support on a topic chosen by attendees. Suggestions included:

  • Engaging and motivating staff to make changes
  • Putting changes into practice
  • How to engage all staff to make real change
  • Motivating staff and changing culture
  • Bringing on board difficult characters – what impact can individuals have on instigating change?

About the Primary Care Collaborative

The Collaborative has been set up to promote a safety culture in the primary care setting through the use of incident reporting, whilst giving the practices involved tools and training in quality improvement methodology. It will also help practices to undertake their own improvement journeys and network with other practices in the region to share learning and facilitate collaboration.

Benefits for the practices involved in the new Primary Care Collaborative include helping their practice in its next Care Quality Commission inspection and will contribute to the revalidation and appraisal processes for all staff. Staff are receiving quality improvement methodology training and resources throughout. Being a part of the collaborative will also increase awareness amongst practice teams of the patient safety agenda, while promoting an open and honest culture.

Patient safety is high on the public agenda, and practice’s involvement in the scheme will improve assurance that their practice has an open and transparent approach towards patient safety, in addition to improving the overall patient experience. Patient representatives for each practice have also been invited to take part as members of the practice core team.

Future events

  • Swindon| Hilton Swindon, Wednesday, 7 September 2016 from 08:00 to 12:30
  • Gloucestershire | Stonehouse Court Hotel, Wednesday, 30 November 2016 from 08:00 to 12:30
  • Bath | Royal United Hospital, Wednesday, 1 March 2017 from 08:00 to 12:30

Contact

For more information on the Primary Care Collaborative, please contact Kevin Hunter at kevin.hunter@weahsn.net.

Building strong foundations to support the most vulnerable in society

The West of England AHSN held a meeting recently, marking the first steps towards building a valuable partnership with the regional voluntary and community sectors.

The aim was to build relationships with organisations that could help us effectively engage with the most vulnerable groups in society, those who are isolated, housebound, the frail and elderly. Organisations that attended were Age UK, LinkAge, the Red Cross and West of England Care and Repair.

Two of our workstreams found the meeting particularly useful in terms of informing and supporting future areas of work.

Our Enterprise team is keen to make sure they are reaching people who might want to get involved in the next phase of our Design Together, Live Better project. This is providing the opportunity for people living with long-term health conditions, carers, family, friends and anyone else interested in healthcare, to suggest or give feedback on product ideas that might improve quality of life and independence. Last year, the first phase of the project developed three product prototypes, based on the experiences of people that attended a series of workshops and crowd-sourcing activities across the region. This next phase is looking to widen and increase our reach, and so voluntary and community organisations, through their membership and users, are extremely well placed to help us do that.

For some time, our Patient Safety Collaborative has been aware that its focus has been on acute care. With an increasing emphasis on healthcare in the community, it is important for us to influence those who have a role to play in safety in the home. Organisations like the Red Cross and Care & Repair often go into people’s homes and provide support to vulnerable people who might be just under the radar of health professionals. The role of staff in these organisations could be vital in improving patient safety and preventing avoidable Emergency Department admissions.

By the end of the meeting, there was great excitement about the potential for working together. A start was been made at the recent ‘Wisdom of the Crowd’ event to launch phase two of Design Together, Live Better, attended by several voluntary and community sector organisations. The Patient Safety team is also planning to offer SBAR (Situation, Background, Assessment, Recommendation ) training to several of the organisations.