Staff introduce ‘always events’ to improve patient experience

Staff at Grimsby hospital are working on a new initiative called ‘always events’ to improve patient experience.

NHS Trust’s across the country are taking part in the NHS England programme.

An ‘always event’ is an aspect of patient and family experience that should always occur; it’s about what really matters to patients.

Staff on the Surgical Ambulatory Care Unit (SACU) at Grimsby hospital are the first team at Northern Lincolnshire and Goole NHS Foundation Trust to adopt an always event.

Under the programme teams are asked to pick just one thing to focus on, that patients have identified themselves as something that will improve their experience and work alongside them to make it happen.

For staff on the SACU it’s that patients will wait a minimum about of time. During the first phase of the project staff collected data by speaking to patients, both in face-to-face conversations and via the Friends and Family Test, and a short survey. They asked patients what mattered most to them and what they would like to see improved when they visited the unit. The main theme that came back was the waiting times for investigations once they got to the unit were too long.

The SACU treats surgical emergency cases who don’t need bed-based treatment. The type of patients accepted include those with non-specific abdominal pain, non-obstructed hernia, abscesses and post-operative wounds.

The team has already started to make changes to reduce the time spent waiting.

Previously patients would be told to come at the same time and then they’d wait for various diagnostic tests to be carried out. They could be waiting anywhere up to four hours or more for an investigation slot. The aim is that by September 2019, 85 per cent of patients attending will be given a bookable slot.

Diann Winn, clinical sister, said: “Staff have really embraced the programme as it gives us a us a clear process for implementing the changes and having just one thing to focus on has really helped.”

Helen Asquith, ward manager, added: “We are only in the early stages of the project but are already seeing the benefits for patients.”

Other teams at the Trust will have the opportunity to work on their own always event once the SACU team has completed the programme.

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