Chief executive's blog - 25 September 2017
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
As chief exec, I get some great jobs to do (and of course some less pleasant tasks!). Recently I’ve been asked to judge several 'bake-off' cake competitions between teams in the hospital – I always enjoy the delicious cakes but it’s always very difficult to decide who the winner is!
I had the same challenge last week when I was asked to be one of the judges on our inaugural 'green ward' competition. Organised by the Centre for Sustainable Healthcare, this is a national programme which invites wards and departments to undertake a local improvement project to make their unit more environmentally friendly.
I am so pleased that several wards at UHS engaged in this vital issue that is very close to my heart. I don’t believe that any of us can afford to ignore the growing evidence that climate change is making the world a more dangerous place, and we all have a responsibility to try to leave our world a better place for future generations.
So thank you and congratulations to the urology day unit, the acute medical unit, the medicine for older people wards and the cardiac intensive care unit. Each of these teams had identified things they could do to use fewer resources, and reduce their carbon footprint and use of landfill sites, whilst at the same time improving care for patients and getting our patients home quicker.
Whether that was through enabling exercise and encouraging independence in the intensive care unit and elderly care wards, improving the coordination of medicines as patients move from the emergency department through the acute medical unit to the medical wards, or ensuring more complex urological equipment was only used when necessary - all the projects focused on how we add value to patients’ lives, how we keep things as simple as possible, and how we can get patients home as quickly as we can.
As I said at the start, agreeing on a winner was a tricky task as each project was impressive in a different way.
The urology day unit have identified a simple but important example of where we are over-using complicated equipment, which is expensive (and takes up too much space in landfill sites after we have used it), but is also impeding patients’ independence.
I will always remember the story from medicine for older people about the elderly gentleman who was given clothes to allow him to change out of pyjamas, which made him feel able to wear his war medals, and how this changed his self-confidence.
And the cardiac intensive care unit have taken the work around exercise that has been demonstrated within other intensive care units, and made it work in their own unit with extremely impressive results.
But we finally agreed that the overall winner was the acute medical unit, who have led a great project around improving the accuracy of medication transfers between the emergency department, AMU and the downstream wards.
I would like to say thank you to all the teams that entered. Each one demonstrated the power of local improvement projects to change how we do things. I always feel that the special thing about UHS is that the desire to improve runs through every team in the hospital, and thank you to these four teams who demonstrated this to me yet again.
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