Following the merger of Barts and The London NHS Trust, Newham University Hospital NHS Trust and Whipps Cross University Hospital NHS Trust. Home to London’s air ambulance, The Royal London hospital is also one of the capital’s leading trauma and emergency care centres.
Barts Health NHS Trust has a strong safety record with some of the lowest MRSA and mortality rates in the country. The Trust’s 15,000-strong workforce is committed to delivering the highest quality care and serves a population of 2.5 million in East London and beyond, and sees 1.5 million patients every year with the use of systems and procedures that are safe and effective, both for staff and patients in all of the six hospitals.
For many years, the three London Trusts that today form Barts Health NHS Trust relied on software from Datix to manage health and safety incidents, claims and complaints across the respective organisations. So when it came to deciding which system to use in the merged organisation, Datix was the ideal choice. Its familiar technology would be crucial at the time of tremendous change.
"You need open lines of communication at all times, extremely good links with ICT and the frontline users plus a strong will and sheer determination." Natalie Mynott-Gardiner, Risk Systems Co-Ordinator
One of the first objectives was to create an open and honest culture and to agree a future strategy. To overcome these hurdles, an engagement programme was put together consisting of a series of workshops and education initiatives going back to basics.
Initial feedback from staff and the results of the early workshops was encouraging. With good interest at all levels it helped with implementing an integrated risk management process that could be embedded across the whole of Barts Health from ward to board.
First on the list was incident management. From a legacy point of view, Barts and The London NHS Trust was the most advanced, having implemented Datix web-based incident management in 2005. For Newham University Hospital NHS Trust, recording incidents and sharing knowledge online was a totally new concept because it had only recently introduced the technology and Whipps Cross fell somewhere in between having implemented web-based incident management in 2010.
The new system promotes the idea of consistency and empowerment amongst teams and differing areas. There are now regular monthly updates to the system based on user feedback and the ever changing patient safety culture.
The implementation of Datix has yielded a series of business benefits with transparency being key. The big risks effecting the organisation are now clearly visible to senior executives giving them the power to take action and mitigate risks. To build on this transparency the Trust is now focusing on the Risk Register and is planning to bring together both Risks and Issues into the same system to ensure there is visibility at all levels.
It has not all been plain sailing along the way, there have been hurdles to overcome, mainly to do with an ageing and differing IT infrastructure within all three legacy Trusts. Another hurdle has been trying to change behaviour and bad habits.
Next on the horizon is introducing a new dashboards facility. Working closely with Datix, the aim is achieve even greater efficiencies to support the Trust’s mission to serve the local population and be recognised nationally and internationally for outstanding clinical services, research and education.
A couple of months ago Natalie Mynott-Gardiner, Risk Systems Co-Ordinator at Barts Health NHS Trust was asked whether she would do it again and the answer was yes without hesitation. The bigger question is what lessons have been learnt? Natalie replied, “You need open lines of communication at all times, extremely good links with ICT and the frontline users plus a strong will and sheer determination. Never be afraid to ask for guidance from the experts. And if at first you don’t succeed, try again.”
Barts Health NHS Trust was created on 1st April 2012 following the approved merger of Barts and The London NHS Trust, Newham University Hospital NHS Trust and Whipps Cross University Hospital NHS Trust. For more information, please visit www.bartshealth.nhs.uk