Improving handover times

We have been working on a 90 day improvement plan with 11 hospitals with the aim of reducing hospital handover times and improving patient experience.  Colleagues from Aintree, Arrowe Park, Royal Liverpool, Southport, Warrington, Whiston, Blackburn, Lancaster, Preston Royal Bolton and Stepping Hill have all taken part with support from NHS Improvement and the Emergency Care Improvement Programme.

Our medical director, director of operations, deputy director of operations and sector manager are some of the project team representing the ambulance service together with local managers and quality improvement and patient experience colleagues.  The project started in April and so far the first milestone event has taken place; at 30 days. 

Local managers have worked with individual hospitals to introduce small scale tests of change using the ‘plan, do, study and act’ PDSA cycle to measure, refine and develop improvement solutions.  What works and what has been learned is shared within the improvement group with the intention of making the handover process as clear and efficient as possible and that all improvements are sustainable. 

At the 30 day mark a best practice presentation was delivered by Joan Carter, Deputy Divisional Director of Operations at University Hospital of South Manchester NHS Foundation Trust.  Based on the improvement work South Manchester had introduced, Joan was able to demonstrate improvements to the number of breaches against the four hour target and hospital handovers through use of a helicopter role, triage nurse, improved environment and relationships.

The next 60 day learning and review event will take place in July at which the Royal Liverpool and other NHS colleagues are expected to present their progress and next steps.