Cwm Taf University Health Board is celebrating today (Wednesday July 2, 2014) after its project to reduce delays and improve the flow of patients across hospital, GP and community services won an NHS Wales Award.
The work, which is delivering better care and reducing the length of hospital stays, won the Improving Patient Safety award, supported by The Health Foundation, in a ceremony at the Swalec Stadium, Cardiff today.
NHS Wales Awards judges praised the ‘Focus on Flow’ project for identifying delays in the healthcare system and findings ways to overcome them.
Overwhelming demand, particularly in accident and emergency departments, was leading to delays in diagnosis and treatment, and patients staying in hospital for longer than they needed. It was also impacting on the ambulance service, resulting in delays in patients moving from the ambulance into hospital.
Staff from across the whole health and social care system have focussed their efforts on reducing delays in handing patients over from ambulance to hospital, redirecting patients to minor injury units instead of accident and emergency where appropriate, and improving social care support.
As a result of these changes, levels of demand on accident and emergency have decreased and more patients are handed over into hospital from an ambulance within the 15 minute target.
Elderly patients in particular, who are known to become more frail and vulnerable if their discharge from hospital is unnecessarily delayed, have benefited from this approach by having their needs met more quickly and appropriately.
Kath McGrath, Assistant Director of Operations at Cwm Taf UHB, said, “We are thrilled to win this award which is recognition of the hard work of all staff across the health board to improve patient safety and quality of care.
“The work to improve patient flow has made a real impact, reducing delays for patients and ensuring they do not stay in hospital any longer than is necessary.
“We have worked with closely with our colleagues at Welsh Ambulance Service and in the local authority to focus on better meeting patients’ needs and we are looking forward to continuing to improve flow across the hospital and community.”
Penny Pereira, Assistant Director for Patient Safety at The Health Foundation, who judged this award, said, “This work was really impressive in its breadth and impact, and has involved staff from across health and social care.
“It is a great example of how you can use data and stories from patients to improve flow and ensure patients receive timely and appropriate care.
“This added up to the holy grail: a culture of joined up improvement making a difference to patient safety across health and social care."
Chief Executive of Cwm Taf University Health Board Allison Williams said: “We are absolutely delighted that our work on improving patient flow within our hospitals and the community has been recognised by the judges at the NHS Wales Awards. At Cwm Taf we are committed to delivering innovative ways of working to transform healthcare services for patients and I would like to pay tribute to all our staff for making this project such a success.”
The annual NHS Wales Awards celebrate the work of healthcare staff across Wales whose innovative work is improving the quality and safety of care for patients.
Nine awards were given to NHS organisations today and a full list of winners is available at www.nhswalesawards.org.uk
NHS Wales Chief Executive Dr Andrew Goodall, who presented the awards at a ceremony today, said, “The NHS Wales Awards are a great opportunity to recognise and celebrate the wonderful achievements that healthcare staff are making in improving services and care for patients across Wales.
“I was also impressed that so much of the healthcare improvement had co-production at the heart of it, showing the real difference that can be made when we work with patients to design services that really meet their needs.
“The NHS Wales Awards ensure improvement stays at the forefront of all that we do. It is also an opportunity to challenge ourselves as to whether we are learning from and implementing these areas of good practice.
“I would like to thank today’s winners and everyone who entered - your improvement work is making a real difference to the quality and safety of care being delivered to patients.”
The Awards are organised by 1000 Lives Improvement, part of Public Health Wales, which supports organisations and individuals to deliver improved health, healthcare outcomes and user experience in NHS Wales.
They were launched in 2008 to celebrate the 60th anniversary of the NHS and recognise and promote best practice across Wales.
More than 140 entries were received from organisations, with 24 making the finals, revealing a high standard of innovative and diverse work that is transforming patient care.
Welsh Health Minister Mark Drakeford, who attended the ceremony today, said, “I have been very impressed to hear of the number and standard of entries to the NHS Wales Awards this year, which demonstrate just how much innovative and diverse work is being delivered across Wales to enhance patient care.
“This year I have been emphasising the role prudent healthcare can play in the NHS so I was delighted to see so many entries carry this theme in their submissions.
“The NHS is held in high regard by the people of Wales and part of that regard is based on the work being showcased through the NHS Wales Awards process.”
Source: Cwm Taf University Health Board