As sponsors, we’re delighted to say The King’s Fund event Working Together to Improve Patient Flow was a huge success. The line-up of speakers provided a wide range of data and experience and created an excellent framework for debate in the theatre and around the event. Thank you to everyone who attended and participated.
We had some great conversations and got many fascinating insights into how the frontline and policymakers are dealing with the challenges of patient flow. Here’s our round-up what of some of the best quotes we heard during the day.
On improving patient flow
Marion Collict and Chris Elliot from Luton and Dunstable spoke to a packed room about their experience. Marion said that there’s “no magic formula” but that it requires a combination of factors and absolute commitment from Board-level – “senior level buy-in to enable ownership of digital transformation and patient flow.”
She also observed that the way the flow management is set-up at Luton & Dunstable means that technology is facilitating real-time data with visual tools providing understanding at a glance.
On the importance of systems and data
“If you’re not working with good information, timely decision-making is impossible,” said Mark Simmonds, Consultant Acute & Critical Care Medicine at Nottingham University Hospitals.
Martin Vernon, National Clinical Director of Older People at NHS England investigated the potential positive impact of patient flow on patient outcomes: “Systems can improve patient flow and patient outcomes by knowing weekly their numbers in the boxes on this chart and using this intelligence to decide the shape and scale of various components of an effective community care system to meet the identified needs of people with #frailty.”
He went on to highlight how “managing DTOC and reducing the number of stranded patients are important but the solutions lie in making it everyone’s business to get the system, and importantly people, moving.”
Neill Moloney, MD of Ipswich and Colchester Hospitals, shared his experience of the sharp end of hospital performance. “Fines and incentives don’t work when trying to tackle Delayed Transfer of Care… You have to look at the system,” he said, outlining the need to take a whole-system approach and put doing the right thing at the top of the list of priorities.
On planning and integration
We need to “change thinking around strategy and have a one, three and five-year workforce and flow plan, not a winter plan,” said Taj Hassan, President of the Royal College of Emergency Medicine.
Pete Gordon from the NHS Emergency Care Intensive Support team highlighted the need for collaboration and whole-system thinking when he said: “Let’s hope the days of NMP (Not My Problem) are gone.”
“We talk about a whole system focus but doesn’t it still feel like we deal with Patient Flow as individuals and individual teams?” he asked. “Integration can benefit the wider system, for example, improved health, person-centred care and so on.” Siva Anandaciva, Chief Analyst at The King’s Fund.
In the closing session at Working Together to Improve Patient Flow, Martin Vernon suggested that: “It’s not just about the flow of patients, it’s about making the information flow with the patient.”
Simon Williams from the Local Government Association gave some powerful context to all this when he said: “Behind every delayed transfer of care there is a human story. It could be one of our parents who go into hospital for something routine and never go home again. This is our collective failure.”
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