Hoping for a brrr…illiant winter performance!

By chief operating officer Karen Kelly

There’s a frosty nip in the air which tells me winter is here! For those involved in managing front door capacity and patient flow, you must be thinking “winter has never really gone away!” As the days get darker earlier, I am pleased to see everyone pulling together to keep our patients safe and well managed during the capacity challenges.

But hark! (listen up!) This has been an incredible journey for the Trust in terms of our changes in patient pathways and overall performance against our constitutional targets. Even as the days get darker earlier, we have lots to be proud of and reasons to be optimistic.

We have a dedicated bed manager in medicine to give nursing time back to nurses. We are trialling different models of rapid assessment in ED to improve patient flow. Our Frailty Assessment Area has opened and is proving to be a great success.

Moving the FAA to the front door, in line with recommendation in the NHS Long Term Plan, frail elderly patients receive optimal care from a dedicated frailty team providing comprehensive geriatric assessment. This should enable patients to get home sooner and maintaining their independence. The specialist MDT support will help prevent admission to hospital and reduce re-attendance.

Our Cardiac Assessment Unit was also shortlisted for an HSJ Award earlier this year. The introduction of a CAU enhances earlier diagnosis on entry into hospital, with monitoring of key diagnostic biochemical markers of all acute admissions to the Trust.

Our Referral To Treatment performance remains largely stable, achieving 93.62 percent in September. This is similar to performance in previous months. This puts us firmly in the top 25 per cent performing trusts nationally.

Our performance against the national cancer standards has historically been strong with DGFT amongst the strongest performers within both the STP and nationally. We have even been able to support ladies from our Wolverhampton GPs in the breast referral pathways ensuring there is no delay in being seen.  I want to say huge thank you to everyone involved in this service.

It was great to see pathology staff showing great enthusiasm for their profession through their displays.  It was fascinating to look through the microscopes at samples of skin and blood.  I even had a guess of how many sharps were in the tubs on display. Didn’t win!!!

CQC – reporting has reduced to monthly for our ED department, which is good news. We continue to work through Mary Sexton’s Achieving Excellence groups for our CQC visit.

ED redesign work is underway. Staff, patients, visitors and healthcare partners have been sharing their ideas to help shape future plans for the £20.3 million redesign of our ED. We held a series of drop in sessions and one-one-meetings to gather feedback.  It will inform how we better support the coordination of care, patient safety and health outcomes. We’ve engaged clinical staff and others across the Trust and from this the clinical specifications are informing the  options appraisal process before the final design. So – exciting times!

And exciting news on a personal level – I’ve completed my Great North Run! The half marathon was a slog but I was pleased with how I did. I exceeded my personal best – as I’ve never done one before.  I was just pipped to the finish by Mo Farah (honest!).  I’m now looking forward to the Santa Dash around the hospital on the 5th December – please join me.