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An extraordinary day at Barts Health NHS Trust

Wed 29th March, 2017
An extraordinary day at Barts Health NHS Trust

Yesterday was a special day at Barts Health. More than 100 fantastic people came to a high energy, high impact Listening into Action (LiA) Acceleration Day, including around 30 doctors, along with nurses, pharmacists, other health professionals, the Chief Executive, Medical Directors, Managing Directors, Clinical Directors, and various support services.

The purpose of the day was to take stock of how the spread of LiA is going and get ready to harness ideas, inspiration and learning to 'blast it out of the water' in the next phase of their journey. The ‘destination’ is an organisation where staff feel engaged, empowered and supported to lead continuous improvements to patient care, with the full backing of the Trust, in a way that makes them feel great.

The LiA Acceleration Day involved checking in with the latest round of 60 teams who have 5 weeks to go before sharing and celebrating stories about the changes in their own areas, and inviting brilliant visiting speakers from three other LiA Trusts to share their own stories and experiences.


4 biggest highlights of the day (of many we could have chosen!)

  1. Some of the LiA teams already have outcomes to shout about, with headlines around reducing length of stay for older people by 8 days, a pathway for volunteers to build skills and become employed by the Trust, fixing patient letters so they know exactly where to go for their outpatient clinics including which lift to take, a new discharge lounge where patients get an early breakfast before they go home, and beautifully designed weekly emails where staff are recognised by their colleagues for doing something great which links to – and brings to life – the Trust values

  2. But the real showstopper from the LiA teams was the wonderful Emilia Bekoe-Amponsam, manager on Curie Ward, who had everyone mesmerised with her story about engaging more than 35 people in their LiA Conversation to come up with ideas to make their ward great. Some of the best ideas, she said, came from their Healthcare Assistants. Headlines included measurably reducing harm through better medicines management, changes to ward rounds, having Pharmacy involvement earlier in the day, reduction of agency reliance by a massive 80%, and creating a new staff room which the team have decorated themselves. Watch out for the full story in May – an inspiration to all staff!

  3. Brilliant visiting speakers included: Jackie Daniel (CEO) and David Wilkinson (Director of Workforce and OD) at University Hospitals of Morecambe Bay NHS FT; Dr Nnenna Osuji (Medical Director) and Jayne Black (Chief Operating Officer) at Croydon Health Services NHS Trust; Dr Esther Waterhouse (Palliative Care Consultant), Tom Johnston (LiA Lead) and Daren Fradgley (Director of Strategy) at Walsall Healthcare NHS Trust. Their stories about the central role that LiA has played in their organisational journey and the measurable impact it has had on the quality and safety of patient care, how staff feel, and organisational performance were truly inspirational. Jackie from Morecambe Bay explained: “LiA has given belief to our staff. In challenging times, it’s all too easy to not do LiA – but this is the ‘day job’. The magic is that you see fairly instant results”. Esther from Walsall said: “It has engaged me in a totally different way”, with Tom adding: “The evidence is the important bit, I know a doctor won’t do anything unless we can prove it will make a difference. And it’s not ‘top down’ - the best ideas come from the frontline”. Jayne from Croydon said: “Clinicians have cottoned on that doing something different is better for patients and themselves” and Nnenna went on to say: “Our CEO is absolutely a champion for LiA, and our LiA Ambassadors are ‘seeds spreading LiA throughout the organisation’”.

  4. More than 30 medics came to the afternoon session, to listen to the visiting speakers and strongly influence the way forward at Barts Health. Ownership and leadership of LiA – designed to give ownership of change back to frontline teams – needs to be in their hands, enabling them to lead changes that they care about for their patients and their teams. Get this right and magic happens. Get it wrong and watch the opportunity for a ‘game changer’ drift away. Some of their suggestions included: Show the evidence to engage staff – they are the turbo charger for our LiA engine; Get the more experienced consultants on board – they are a source of passion, action, potential resistance; Involve new consultants – they are young, enthusiastic and have no baggage that resists change; Have Junior Doctors take on LiA to meet their training requirement for ‘quality improvement projects’.

It’s a privilege to be part of the journey at Barts Health and in the many other NHS organisations that have been adopting Listening into Action (LiA). Our job is to bring the approach to them and to make it better every year based on their learning and experience. A ‘home grown’ approach truly based on what NHS medics, nurses, health professionals and staff at all levels say works for them.

Contact: Hannah Forbes hforbes@optimiselimited.co.uk Mobile: 07734 812644


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