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Haematology team at Aintree University Hospitals transform patient safety

Mon 16th December, 2013
Haematology team at Aintree University Hospitals transform patient safety

Adopting LiA as one of Aintree Hospital’s First 10 pioneering teams, Ian Hincks, Clinical Nurse Specialist, and the Haematology team have delivered a remarkable transformation for the benefit of patients, staff and the Trust.

“There is no doubting that pre-2013, clinical haematology was in need of effective leadership and the implementation of essential change’’ according to Ian.

A Pascal Metrics staff survey in 2012 and a second, mandatory National Chemotherapy peer review in January 2013 highlighted the need for action. Responses from staff on the ward put the unit below the Pascal Metric ‘safe’ zone on measures around patient safety, staff job satisfaction, working conditions and support from ward management.

With the amalgamation of the haematology outpatient unit and the inpatient unit into Ward 24, it was the right time to enable and empower staff to deliver an improved patient experience built on a belief that quality really does matter.

Within three months of the first round of LiA actions, everything had changed. Staff now believe their ward is 34% safer for patients. This is a shift from 60% (just above the ‘danger zone’ in the Pascal Metric), to 94% (14% above the recognised ‘safe zone’). This uplift was realised by improving the nurse ratio from 1:14 (at times) to a consistent 1:6.

Ian comments: “Even taking into account the financial austerity measures still surrounding healthcare, we were able to achieve this improvement through a reduction in our inpatient bed numbers. The available space this provided was then used to accommodate our new day unit, making our mission almost cost neutral”.

Alongside this, working ‘the LiA way’ had a very positive impact on the team: happy staff means happy patients. Staff on the unit are now reporting:

  • 37% improvement in teamwork on the unit
  • 44% increase in staff feeling positive about their working conditions
  • 47% uplift in staff feeling valued and supported by their ward manager.

This translates into an unparalleled 100% job satisfaction rate across the unit - an increase of 55% compared to how they felt before pioneering LiA at Aintree.

All of these improvements are, in isolation, a cause for celebration for the staff working on the ward as well as for their patients and the Trust. But the difference this can make goes even deeper than just the headline staff survey numbers.

Ian Hincks sums this up:

“Safety is directly linked to the consistency and wellbeing of frontline teams. It not only makes financial sense to avoid high levels of absenteeism through sickness, and to avoid reliance on inexperienced agency staff to meet the complex needs of our patients. But also, high levels of absenteeism increase workload demands causing increased levels of occupational stress, a particular problem identified by Royal College of Nursing (RCN) following an employment survey that showed 71% of nurses surveyed experience work-related stress. The survey also concluded that morale and job satisfaction decrease as workloads and stress increase, with half of all respondents saying they are too busy to provide the care they would want to give (RCN 2011).

So, following our impressive score of 93.93%, it would be safe to suggest that the wellbeing of both staff and patients is now very positive within Haematology.”


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