Nearly 600 proposals have been submitted in response to the chief nursing officer for England’s call for the profession to suggest ways to save NHS resources.
As reported by Nursing Times, Dame Christine Beasley warned nurses last month they needed to show leadership on efficiency or else risk having “slash and burn” measures imposed on them by managers.
Dame Christine will pick 10 of the best “high impact actions” suggested by nurses. She will then announce plans to roll them out across the rest of the NHS at her annual chief nurse’s conference next month.
Nurses and others have also been able to vote for their favourite proposals on the NHS Institute for Innovation and Improvement’s website. These include a patient-centred food ordering system designed by nurses and a “red jug” scheme to identify inpatients most at risk of dehydration.
One popular proposal came from Debra Quartermaine, falls coordinator at Cambridge University Hospitals Foundation Trust.
Her trust has revised the way it assesses the risk of inpatient falls. Instead of ranking patients as being at high, medium or low risk, they are simply ranked as either being “at risk” or not.
She said this made ward staff take a more “individualised” and less “complacent” approach to patients because – perversely – those previously rated as “high risk” were often those most unlikely to be able to get out of bed, she said.
In the first three months of the new assessment process, falls across the hospital reduced by 11 per cent – equivalent to at least £35,574 in saved bed days.
“It’s paid for my wages already. Hopefully those savings will be ploughed back into patient care and they have already improved the quality of life for these patients,” she said.
An anticoagulation service proposal, which also rated highly with visitors to the website, was prepared by Edwina Flanagan, clinical service manager at City Healthcare Partnership in Hull.
A team of around 10 nurses and four HCAs care for approximately 3,000 patients across the city, taking referrals from both GP practices and hospitals.
Ms Flanagan said: “Before the service these patients were treated by the GP or acute trust. It wasn’t a dedicated team, but rather adhoc.” Ms Flanaghan said the service had reduced the need for hospital stays as patients’ INR levels were kept stable.
The team also took charge of pre-operative patients at risk of blood clots which meant a reduced need for such patients to be admitted into hospital early for monitoring.
Vote on or submit a “high impact solution” by visiting the NHS Institute’s website.