This week has been a fantastic week for recognition of our teams, with news of awards received in three separate areas. On Wednesday evening we were winners of the HSJ Partnership Award for Consultancy Partnership of the year, alongside 2020 Delivery who supported our urgent care improvement work in 2018. The judges recognised the passion and enthusiasm of the team and commended it as an example of ‘how all clinical professions can deliver change, from board to ward’. This is a great accolade for our ED team but is an award we should all celebrate, as it had input from a number of teams across the Trust. There is of course more work to do, but this is great recognition for the improvements made to date.
Last night Jayne Longstaff was awarded ‘Outstanding research professional’ at the Wessex Clinical Research Network Awards. Jayne is Lead Respiratory Quality Improvement Nurse, and was nominated by Professor Anoop Chauhan and Alice Mortlock for her contribution to research here at PHT. Jayne was shortlisted from almost 100 entrants and her success is well deserved recognition of her commitment to improving care for patients and a fine example of high quality multi-disciplinary research being undertaken across the Trust.
I was also delighted to learn that on 8 March Sister Karen Gamble and Sister Kirsty Fancey were awarded third place in the category of Hepatology Nurse of the Year at the British Journal of Nursing awards in London. Karen and Kirsty have over 40 years of liver nursing experience between them and in that time have delivered many advances in care for our patients with liver disease. Their recognition by the nursing profession is rightly deserved and I know their entire team are thrilled with their success. Congratulations Kirsty and Karen and to all our winners.
During this week the hospital has been under increased pressure causing us to escalate to OPEL 4. We have been working against a backdrop of increasing pressure since the beginning of the year with an increasing number of patients accessing our urgent care services. Throughout this time we have seen a 6 per cent increase in attendances through our ED and a 13 per cent increase in admissions compared to the plan we agreed at the beginning of the year. Looking at the month of February alone shows that ED attendances increased by 17 per cent compared to February 2018. This additional pressure creates challenges for a number of departments and has unfortunately led to some of our patients waiting longer than any of us would like for admission to hospital.
I know from speaking with many of you that these ongoing demands are tiring. The commitment to our patients from teams, departments and individuals across the hospital has been phenomenal. A central part of our response throughout this week has been to do all we can to increase the number of safe and appropriate discharges of patients who are ready to leave our care. The number of patients who are medically fit to be discharged from the hospital has improved and is down to 165, which is the lowest number since December and is the result of ongoing work with our system partners. We have now de-escalated to OPEL 3, but we and our partners, will need to continue the efforts to strengthen our discharge processes to support a reduction in the delays our patients have been experiencing.
Our experience this week has once again demonstrated how important the work to transform our urgent care pathway is in improving patient flow and delivering a better experience for our patients and staff. Following the news at the end of last year of £58million investment in our urgent care services, work to develop our plans has been continuing. Last week a workshop took place with clinical teams to prioritise some of the improvement work we need to do. We have also been exploring good practice models elsewhere in the country to learn from their experience. We have spent time with colleagues in Northumbria Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust and will soon be visiting Wexham Park hospital in Slough.
The physical redevelopment will be shaped through the Transforming Emergency Care Programme to design a sustainable clinical model for all of our emergency pathways. The opportunity for innovation and improvement in our emergency pathways is Trust-wide and will require input from multi-disciplinary teams in all specialties and departments across the hospital.To progress the programme at pace we have appointed two joint Clinical Directors to lead this important piece of work; Dr Peter Russell, ED Consultant and Dr Kate Hardy, Consultant Geriatrician and Care Group Director for Older Persons Medicine, working with Penny Emerit, Director of Strategy and Performance as the Senior Responsible Officer. Peter and Kate will be leading the Clinical Strategy Group which will provide the expert clinical input and we have already sought representatives for this Group from services across the Trust. This work is a pivotal part of our Trust strategy and represents a fantastic opportunity to enhance the care we provide for patients accessing our urgent care services. I look forward to working alongside Peter and Kate and to bringing you further updates on our progress over the coming weeks and months.
Thank you, as ever, for all that you do to support the delivery of safe and compassionate care for our patients.