15 Feb, 13 | by BMJ Quality
Dr. Damian Roland, who is hosting a webinar for BMJ Quality on Tuesday 19th February for BMJ Quality, talks about how your pledge could help change patient and staff experiences. Dr. Roland is a NIHR Doctoral Research Fellow at Leicester University and Senior Registrar in Paediatric Emergency Medicine at the University of Hospitals of Leicester NHS Trust. He has research interests in education evaluation and improving recognition of unwell children in acute and emergency care settings. He also has a strong interest in trainee engagement and representation and has been a past chair of the both the AoMRC and RCPCH Trainees Committees.
The NHS is currently going through big changes, however, regardless of what is happening now with reforms and financial pressures, we know that clinical and managerial management is not optimal. Following national guidance, communicating with patients, providing adequate education and training, and many small changes to current practice could have a large impact on patient outcomes and staff engagement. Junior doctors are in the best position to notice this and to help make changes, but are often limited by time, status or motivation.
It is from a group of such junior doctors that NHS Change Day was realised – but change day belongs to all who work in or for the NHS. After all we all work closely together, and anyone who has been on a work or department night out will note the sense of camaraderie amongst health care professionals who have worked together in tough times. Despite this, the enormous NHS, much like a steam roller, is a machine that does not move quickly; it eventually gets to its destination and achieves it goals, but the weight of the journey is slow and painful for the healthcare team that powers it.
So, although initially proposed as a junior doctor led promotion of quality improvement action to occur simultaneously on one day, it is now a call to collective action for any NHS employee to pledge to do one or more things to aid patients or staff.
Pledges can be as simple as spending time with patients to ask for their feedback, to alter the way a routine task is carried out; or supporting campaigns such as the Sepsis Six. The hope is that others will pledge their support as well. Although
these actions could, and should, be taking place everyday, NHS Change Day will act as a unifying one day opportunity for groups to overcome potential bureaucracies and inertias.
The day is 13 March 2013. It will be the single largest improvement event in the NHS to date. The goal is to mobilise 65,000 NHS staff (1000 for each year since the NHS was first established) to take action voluntarily to demonstrate their commitment to improving patient care and create a movement which could lead to further NHS Change Days. Anyone working in the NHS can commit by signing up on NHS Change Day Pledge Wall: www.changemodel.nhs.uk/changeday
My personal pledge is to taste a variety of the paediatric medicines I prescribe. A simple, but patient centred pledge to help me understand how foul tasting some medicines are for children and the difficulties the parents may have giving them. This also demonstrates that pledges can be about anything and don’t have to be radical or process focused. I hope other health care professionals will individually or, perhaps together, combine their talents, to take this opportunity now, during the greatest period of transformation in the NHS, to stop the weight of the steam roller getting the better of us.