Colchester Hospital shortlisted for patient safety awards

Colchester University Hospital NHS Foundation Trust (CHUFT) has been shortlisted for three prestigious national awards in recognition of the steps it takes to put patient safety first.

The hospital has been named as a finalist in the Health Service Journal’s Patient Safety Awards 2018. Two specific projects have been shortlisted:

  • Recognition of the deteriorating child on presentation to the Emergency Department (ED), which has been shortlisted in the ‘best patient safety initiative in A&E’ category
  • The Watchpoint Project – using IT to improve care, which has been shortlisted in the ‘patient safety team of the year’ and ‘information technology’ categories.

The first project has focused on making sure children arriving in the ED who are showing signs of sepsis are given the right tests and medication early, which is vital in the successful treatment of the condition.

Staff adapted the unit’s sepsis screening tool before carrying out trials and making further adjustments to further improve its effectiveness. The hospital computer system was also updated to automatically prompt staff to complete sepsis screening when a patient who has been flagged as being at risk is brought into the department.

The Watchpoint Project saw the hospital create a bespoke IT system to improve the way care is coordinated for acutely unstable patients, as well as the handovers between different teams. The system, which is called Watchpoint, flags how often individual patients need to be reviewed, as well as listing all of the tasks which staff need to completed to deliver the highest quality care.

These actions are then electronically allocated to the most appropriate clinician, in turn helping reduce duplication and freeing up more time for doctors and nurses to spend with patients.

As well as significantly improving patient safety and the care which is provided overnight, Watchpoint has also saved the hospital several hundred thousand pounds, which would otherwise need to be spent on buying in a similar system from elsewhere.

Dr Angela Tillett, medical director at Colchester Hospital, said: “Ensuring the safety of our patients is our number one priority, so we are really pleased that these important projects have been shortlisted for these prestigious patient safety awards.

“Although sepsis is a common illness, it can have very serious consequences if left untreated, with around 37,000 people dying from the illness in England every year. Our ED project is making a real difference in helping to detect and treat it early, which gives people the best chance of making a good recovery.

“Watchpoint also is having a big impact on the quality of care by tracking our newly admitted patients who are often our most unstable group of patients and flagging timely review and investigations.

“The system, which our teams have developed in-house, has been really well-received by our clinicians, who say it is clear, easy to use and reliable.”

Shaun Lintern, chairman of the HSJ Patient Safety Congress 2018, said: “This year’s finalists are judged to be those who have gone above and beyond to deliver exceptional patient care and safety. The projects submitted highlight and demonstrate constant innovation, as well as the drive to overcome challenges to put patients’ needs first.”

The awards will be presented at a ceremony in Manchester on July 9th 2018.