On 23 May, along with our partners NHS England North West and the North West Ambulance Service (NWAS), we held our final North West Hospital Handover Improvement Collaborative event with support from senior executives from the three regional Integrated Care Boards (ICBs): Lancashire and South Cumbria ICB, Cheshire and Merseyside ICB, and Greater Manchester ICB.
“The strength of this collaborative series has been the partnership and relational working between Aqua, NHS England, NWAS and the North West provider and commissioning organisations. The benefit to this approach has been sharing learning which other teams can build upon, walking in other people’s shoes by shadowing teams to understand their roles and using daily data to identify further improvement opportunities.” Adele Markland – Senior Improvement Manager, NWAS
The North West Hospital Handover Improvement Collaborative took place during the winter of 2022/23, and we are delighted that in April 2023 the Collaborative had helped to reduce over 60 minute handover breaches in the North West by 47%, only slightly short of the Collaborative’s aim of achieving a 50% reduction by 31 March 2023. This aim was chosen because evidence shows that longer hospital handovers increase patient harm and reduce the ability of ambulances to respond to urgent calls. It was great to see that 23 of the 26 Emergency Departments (EDs) in the region made improvements against the target, all whilst navigating the most challenging winter period in NHS history.
“We were one of the worst performing trusts across NWAS when we started back in December, so [the Collaborative] has been really useful in getting ideas from other people, seeing what we do well, but also the areas that we can improve on. From the data we got today, we are now the second best [performing trust] in terms of the improvements that we’ve made in ambulance delays” Imran Khan – Urgent Care Lead, Royal Bolton Hospital.
Our celebratory event on 23 May gave partners the opportunity to present their outcomes from the Collaborative through posters and presentations, using data to demonstrate the improvements that have been made since the first events in December. NHS Trusts and NWAS colleagues came together to share the improvements they have made through their tests of change, and their plans for the future.
Many of the attendees agreed that sharing learning, networking and building relationships within and across localities, arranging peer site visits and shadowing colleagues, plus healthy competition were huge benefits of the Collaborative. Data has also been at the heart of the Collaborative, pinpointing areas for improvement and demonstrating the successes.
“We’ve all got together in the room and shared learning and experiences, and it’s opened the opportunity to go and visit other sites, share ideas and take them across to other places and see if it works there.” Caroline Hargreaves – Senior Team Leader, NWAS
We were delighted to be joined at the event by Chris Morrow-Frost, National Clinical Advisor to Hospitals at NHS England. A key part of Chris’ role is to feedback to NHS England about the great work that is going on within the Urgent Emergency Care pathway, and it was fantastic to hear his positivity around the Collaborative.
“You can feel in the room that there’s tons of energy, and people are getting their batteries filled back up by spending time with each other and talking about a common cause. It’s a wonderful thing to be part of.” Chris Morrow-Frost – National Clinical Advisor to Hospitals, NHS England.
Our role in the Collaborative was to connect NHS Trusts and NWAS colleagues, face to face, outside of the usual hospital environment to explore the problem together, set a local aim for handover improvement, and co-design and test the changes that address the needs of individual Emergency Departments.
“Working collaboratively with Aqua and NWAS to create and deliver the Handover Collaborative was a great privilege. The contributions from all parts of our systems were uplifting and energising, and they made a difference to local people using local services. This was a great example of those doing the work actually being empowered to improve the work.” Adele Coultard – Head of System Improvement, NHS England – North East and Yorkshire and North West Regions
Our partnership with NHS England and NWAS on the North West Handover Improvement Collaborative is a testament to what we believe: that improvement is best done collaboratively. The Collaborative has produced tangible, positive impacts on organisations in the North West and the populations they serve, showcasing the brilliant improvement work that our NHS colleagues committed to whilst under extreme winter pressures.
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