George Eliot Hospital was one of the top five best performing A&E departments in England in July 2020.
A new management and clinical approach introduced this year has resulted in a dramatic turnaround for the department that had previously been in the bottom quartile of Trusts, for achieving the national 4 hour target.
The COVID-19 pandemic created the need for change and this was an opportunity to do things both differently and rapidly to help manage the pandemic within the hospital.
A change in the leadership structure within the Emergency Department (ED) helped drive a new management approach to the department to bring the service in line with best practice nationally. Improvements resulted in rapid changes both operationally and clinically within the department. This was achieved through a number of key actions.
Changes were made to the way the department prioritises the 4 hour target and the team reorganised meetings, including introducing a new command and control structure, resulting in clear accountability and action tracking. This new management and clinical approach, which included changes to leadership style, empowered staff to make decisions and quickly adopt new ways of working.
Improvements to patient experience, enhanced quality of care, improved flow within the hospital resulted in national recognition for the hospital’s achievements. The changes also improved staff morale during the pandemic and improved working relationships across departments.
A short temporary reduction in the attendance within A&E due to COVID-19 allowed the department to embed the changes to management style and approach, resulting in improved performance when attendance returned to pre-covid levels.
Director of Operations, Stephen Collman said: “The four hour target is a key measure of how our patients experience care in our Emergency Department and that’s why this achievement is so welcome. Nationally all Trusts have faced the same issues as George Eliot Hospital and we have excelled in achieving difficult targets.
“We are committed to keeping this up and making sure we maintain this performance into a challenging winter period and give our local community the care they want and deserve. We remain ready to serve our patients and urge them to seek treatment when they need it.”