Changes made by staff at Birmingham and Solihull Mental Health NHS FT have greatly benefitted service users, boosted staff morale, and increased productivity.
A team at the Central and West Addiction Recovery Community Hub (ARCH) had been struggling to find solutions to deal with a high 'Do Not Attend' (DNA) rate which was badly affecting their service. A significant amount of time was being lost and the impact on the team was very negative: staff morale had plummeted, their sense of achievement and pride was low, and workloads appeared to be heavier due to inefficient working and ‘revolving door’ service users. Staff were feeling stressed and frustrated, sickness levels rose, incidences of service user abuse towards staff increased, and there was tension within the team.
Critically this was also having a serious adverse effect on patients - recovery periods were prolonged and relapse periods were more regular. The Trust was facing increased costs drafting in temporary staff to cover sickness and having to fund prolonged recovery periods.
It was clear that this situation was unsustainable for both staff and service users. Staff knew it was getting in the way of delivering best quality care, and they were desperate to change this.
They decided to use LiA to engage all the right people so that they could find solutions and make changes to improve their service. Their goals were to:
- Reduce DNAs
- Empower patients to take responsibility for managing and, if necessary, cancelling their appointments
- Ensure that service users were supported in making informed decisions about their addiction
- Ensure that service users follow a consistent treatment plan.
As a result the team set up a recovery group for patients, where they can get support for their abuse, share experiences with each other, and understand the impact of not attending appointments or following their treatment plan. In addition, the team devised a follow-up system for DNA’s and put in place an agreement for seeing and treating only patients who attend the recovery group as part of their treatment plan.
There have been many positive outcomes as a result of these changes:
- The DNA rate has been dramatically reduced
- The recovery rate has improved
- The service user experience has improved - they now feel listened to and have a sense of belonging
- There is a better understanding by service users of the path to recovery and they feel supported.
The effect on the team has been fantastic. Staff morale has improved greatly, stress levels and sickness levels have reduced, and team communication is much better.
The reduction in DNAs means that time is now being used effectively and the entire team is more efficient. They also have a renewed sense of energy and are constantly generating new ideas on how to improve the way they work and their service provision. One staff member says: "Listening into Action is the best thing that ever happened to our team, it was what we needed to revitalise us".