Between October-December 2011 Kath Evans and I visited all 17 Acute Trusts in the East of England that provide Acute Care for Children and Young People. We walked the pathway from the Accident and Emergency Department through the Children’s Assessment Unit and In-patient Ward. We talked with as many professionals and patients throughout the day as we could and we were often accompanied by other external guests. During the feedback session we got as many people together as possible from across the trust and where possible the children’s commissioner and GP CCG lead. Some joined us throughout the day.
This was a supportive peer review process. We had asked each unit to assess themselves against “The East of England Children’s Assessment unit standards.” https://www.eoe.nhs.uk/page.php?page_id=1144
The Aims of the visit were to raise the profile of Children and Young people within the trust, encourage professionals in the trust to get together to review the standards and bench mark themselves against the standards and support trusts to be able to improve their services.
In every Trust we were able to identify good practise and also share good practise we had seen elsewhere and give recommendations for them to progress.
At the end of all the visits we (hum… sorry KATH) wrote a summary report and we held a celebratory event. At the event all units hosted a market stool to demonstrate and share the good practise we had identified. The evaluation of the event and process exceeded our expectations. The process was highly valued. Comments included that the standards and visits gave an opportunity to raise the profile of children. One unit commented that the process re- envigorated them to be able to progress their services.
I learnt lots and one of the things that stuck out was that we were not the CQC, the visits were not mandatory but all 17 units engaged with us and took the visits seriously. We were supportive and being able to recognise the good practise really enabled us to gain the trust of units to help make suggestions to make their services even better! All 17 units had an assessment unit. Some were new and the publication of the standards had aided this development.
I always learn something from every visit and conversation. I know how difficult it can be however to implement changes in your own unit.
Maybe the most important thing we did was build relationships right across the East of England and link units together.
Did we make a difference?
We are about to re-start our tour. Doing the first 9 visits in the next 2 weeks. (I keep listening to the weather forecast with some trepidation – Kath has no doubt already got wellies/blankets/shovels etc in the back of her car.)
This year we are reviewing progress against the Assessment Unit Standards but also focussing on the Emergency Departments and have asked hospitals to review themselves against “The Standards for Children and Young People in Emergency Care Settings” – a document written jointly by the Royal Colleges. http://www.rcpch.ac.uk/emergencycare
I’ll sign off now – I have already had to for go the dog walk to write this blog and I am still sitting here in my dressing gown and can hear keys in the door….
Let us know if you would like to join us!
Enjoy your Saturday