At the end of a hospital stay patients are eager to return home. However for many, the discharge process can be delayed, sometimes for several hours or days, whilst they wait for delivery of drugs from the hospital pharmacy. This situation does not enhance the patient experience and has the inevitable knock on effect of reducing availability of hospital beds.
At Croydon Health Services NHS Trust this delay was identified and taken up by a multi-disciplinary team pioneering adoption of Listening into Action (LiA). Around 50% of prescriptions were being written on the day of discharge, and this was creating long waits for patients ready to go home. Chief Pharmacist Louise Coughlan and her team knew that the process needed to be slicker. They used the process to quickly engage with the other relevant teams at the Trust, and prioritised three sets of actions to deliver together, without delay:
- Improving communication between the pharmacy team and the ward staff
- A member of the pharmacy team accompanying doctors on ward rounds
- The pharmacy team pledging to fulfil any prescriptions written by 3pm by 10am the next day
The results were profound, now 94% of prescriptions are written the day before discharge which means that there has been a 70% increase in the number of patients able to leave before 10am. The efforts of the team were recognised when they were given the “Final Presentation Award” from the London-wide “Together to Improve Value” programme.
John Goulston, Chief Executive at Croydon Health Services NHS Trust has the following to say:
“Listening into Action (LiA) is making a great difference at Croydon Health Services. Our First 10 Pioneer Teams have all delivered important service improvements. Our inpatient Pharmacy work led very quickly to massive improvement in patients having their drugs ready on time. This was a real team effort with consultants and doctors in training working with ward and pharmacy staff. We are now rolling out the changes to all our wards”