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.