Fiona Dalton, CEO

Chief executive's blog - 1 December 2015

In my personal blog, I'll keep you up to date on what's happening at the Trust, sharing what I think we're doing well and what we can improve.

Fiona Dalton, chief executive

Have you been FERFed yet?!

Like most hospitals, we (rightly) spend a lot of time reviewing things that haven’t gone well – trying to understand what caused the problem, what we can learn from it, and how we can avoid the same thing happening again. This process of improvement starts with identifying the issue – often through filling in a form called an ‘adverse event report’ – and then agreeing what the root causes of the incident were, and how we can change them.

But last year one of our many brilliant junior doctors asked why we don’t do the same when things go well. Why don’t we try to learn from these incidents too?

And so she came up with the genius idea of the FERF – the favourable event reporting form – and thereby created a new process which is now well-established in both the emergency department and child health.

Like most great innovations, it’s very simple. Anyone who sees an incident or an event which went particularly well is invited to fill out a form.

For instance, the form can be used to describe an individual member of staff being particularly compassionate, or a team working especially well together, or an innovative approach to an old problem.

These forms are then all looked at on a monthly basis by a multi-disciplinary team within the department. This team makes sure that everyone mentioned in a FERF receives a personal letter, thanking them for their contribution. In itself this is of course a very positive step. We all know what a difference it makes when someone tells you that you’ve done a good job – and I’m very struck with how many people at UHS take the time to contact me to ask that I recognise and thank a colleague of theirs.

But the next stage is even more important. The multi-disciplinary team discuss the FERF, and try to analyse exactly what was great about the incident. What did an individual do that made the difference? What made the process work particularly well that day? How could other people learn from this?

The summary of these reflections are fed back to the whole department as part of the mortality and morbidity meeting – along with lessons learnt from adverse events. So good practice can be spread, and we can continue on the mission of 'always improving'.

This is such a great example of change driven from the front line. No one asked permission to do it, no one wrote a policy, no one agreed an implementation plan.….. Someone just did it.

And because both the emergency department and child health teams work with teams across the hospital, I know that individuals throughout the Trust have received a FERF – and I suspect that the impact on individuals and teams in our large organisation is beyond anything that the founders of FERFs ever imagined.

Fiona Dalton


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Page comments

Well done
Anonymous (12/12/2015 22:08:17)