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'Can Medway inspire a reboot of the NHS?'


You can just do it. That’s the message that came out of last week’s incredibly impressive Reboot Medway project.

This week-long programme aimed to reset the foundation trust’s culture to deliver better patient care. 

Volunteers from clinical, front line, back office – and the all-important-to-convince finance – teams were given a specific ward to help. They resolved IT issues, did meal or tea rounds, moved patients, made beds or chased up medical records and test results. Much of the work relieved nurses of their admin duties, so it was part releasing time to care/part spring cleaning a backlog of issues that had built up. But the ultimate goal was to boost patient experience, and get the right patient in the right bed first time. 

Issues that couldn’t be sorted out were escalated to Silver Command, a crack team who pulled strings to get things done.

The results were phenomenal – emergency departments got their porters, broken printers were replaced, lights were fixed and more patients were discharged in a timely manner than ever before. 

I joined Reboot Medway and the foundation trust’s chief nurse Steve Hams for one day last week, and the approach to improving care was inspirational. Operational and administrative staff had a chance to see how their work impacts on the patient; the volunteers – “Just-do-it-ers” – were given the power to make changes; and things well, just got done. 

The team believes it has resolved most of Medway’s backlog of facilities issues, reset the culture around clinical issues and behaviours of team working, and put in place systems to provide long-term help and points of liaison between the ward and board. They know it will need continued work. But what team Medway has done is shown that in one week you can bring about changes in attitudes. And if a “Keogh trust” can do it, can’t any trust?

The project was also about finding a positive way forward. One of the highlights was seeing the “always” lists – things the team commits to always do. This has been picked up on Twitter by Cambridge University Hospitals, which has now made its own list.

So Medway is inspiring other trusts. Maybe it can inspire a Reboot the NHS. So here is a plea to chief executives, chairs and directors of nursing – are there things your trust could learn by putting an impartial non-clinical observer on your ward or unit for a day to be a “fixer”? Could you improve your trust by pressing reset?

Check out #RebootMedway for ideas – and if you think it could work for you – just do it.


Readers' comments (21)

  • George Kuchanny

    I think it just may Jenni! Chief nurse Hams is showing us the way. Delivery of Patient Centred Care is possible.

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  • How about employing more staff to be able to do our jobs properly in the first place.
    If nurses are spending too much time on admin and 'non nursing' things then why not employ more people whose job it is.
    Good on the staff for their let's all join in spirit but these things should get sorted out without having to have a 'silver command' (who were they that could suddenly get things done? managers? those who people have to listen too instead of the usual let's ignore the nurses concerns?)

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  • I don't want a non clinical observer for a day, I want more staff on a permanent basis so that the nursing staff can look after their patients properly and not have to worry about things like a broken printer.

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  • Getting broken lights fixed is phenomenal, is it?

    How can anyone be impressed by something which could and should be the norm, being hailed as 'phenomenal'? This just makes me sad.

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  • Silver Command , a crack team . Why not get Wonder Woman, Superman and Spiderman or even Batman.
    How very childish the whole bl###y thing sounds.
    I have said before nurses do the work of Porters, Cleaners, Receptionist, Healthcare Assistants, Housekeepers to name a few.
    Why don't we have enought of those staff doing their jobs so nurses can get on with their job.
    These Silver Command people who is now doing their work?
    Or is it the case all the bl###y time they were sitting on their a## with so much time on their hands, while we nurses run ourselves to the ground. How bl###y unfair .

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  • The whole "Reboot" was a complete Joke.
    As a B5 staff nurse, i have seen no difference to my ward, except the printer is now fixed.
    It should not take the entire management and chief nurses a whole week to achieve this!

    I hope they can stop patting themselves on the back whilst wearing their "Reboot Medway" t-shirts, and get on with their proper jobs.
    Never have I witnessed such self-gratification and hideous self-importance from the managers of this Hospital.
    Get more (and good) nurses on the wards, pay the nurses a reasonable rate for working extra - and not agency nurses.

    Reboot - puke

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  • what about hospital hygiene with all these extraneous bodies speeding around. wouldn't a few extra nurses be more conducive to a more productive ward and care of the patients?

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  • kelly bolton | 12-Sep-2013 5:33 am

    Are you listening NT? Kelly's experience is the real story here.

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  • Management get demented with joy re: banal stuff like this....its quite amusing & just a little bit sad.

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  • Royal Mail for sale.

    Does that mean the NHS will be next?

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