Continuing my change day pledge to visit front-line services, to better understand their use of technology, I had an inspiring visit to Liverpool Community Health NHS Trust. The day started well with the friendliest people I have experienced in a while as soon as I got off the train – and I thought we were chatty in Yorkshire!
It’s a long time since I worked in a community setting, although I have often worked with community teams. District nursing was a dream for many of us in the 1980s when we qualified but roles were rare and didn’t come up often. With the increasing need to care for more patients in their homes and meet people who have complex needs through multiple long term conditions, community nursing is becoming a priority and we need creative teams with great leaders who can think through new ways of doing things.
Liverpool Community NHS Trust provides more than 60 different healthcare services and employs around 3,500 staff. Each year, on average, staff deliver care to:
• 52,000 people as outpatients within treatment rooms;
• 125,000 patients to our four Walk-in Centres;
• 51,000 sexual health service user visits;
• 250,000 visits to patients in their own home;
• 480,000 Immunisations and Vaccinations;
• 50,000 Community Equipment items delivered;
• 34,000 Wheelchair service items delivered.
You can find out more about the Trust here:
The first part of my visit was to meet Gemma an impressive district nurse. I found her inspiring because of her commitment to make technology work for patients. They are using EMIS on mobile devices such as laptops and tablets to manage the community nursing team’s work. Gemma showed me how referrals are received and booked for a visit by a nurse for assessment. The system looked easy to use and ‘clean’. The trust has ambitious targets that all the clinical field staff have mobile devices by September 2013 and that this will enable them to increase the number of contacts per clinician per day. None of this could be achieved without supportive passionate IT teams and I also met Kathy, a transformation manager who has the ambition to make the trust’s targets a reality, despite them being stretching. It’s sometimes easy to forget the technology teams who work so hard to support clinical innovation. I am hoping the central nurse technology fund might be able to help teams like these move faster to realise these benefits for patients.
The team are also part of a collaborative that is making the ‘redbook’ electronic. Shortly before or after a baby is born, parents are given a Personal Child Health Record (PCHR). In England, this usually has a red cover and is often called “the red book”. This is a way of keeping track of a child’s progress. Another brilliant piece of work; you can watch a video about the e-redbook here.
Jane was the lead for this. It was starting to be daunting with all these impressive leads presenting!
Sheena is a passionate speech and language therapist and what was most striking about Sheena was her patient focus. Quietly spoken but with a real passion for improving things for patients. Despite information governance challenges Sheena has managed to create a service where they Skype patients for a SLT session. It’s beautiful in its simplicity and she could tell us of real benefits for young people but also those who are geographically remote. I was impressed. We had a really pragmatic conversation about how to make an iPad stand up so the camera was in the right place to give the best picture – it’s not always the big things that matter.
Finally, they showed me something that is dear to my heart; an ambitious city wide project to empower citizens to take more control of their own health called the Mi project. They aim to use technologies to support people to take more responsibility and stay well. You can see more here:
I am really grateful for the Trust for giving me such an inspiring experience and would like to thank Ian and Kathy for looking after me but also Bernie Cuthel, CEO and Helen Lockett, Executive Nurse, for taking the time to meet me and the whole team for making me welcome. They are an ambitious, inspiring and lively organisation – just like I found Liverpool to be. I had more friendly faces and chats with strangers than I remember in any city for a good while! Thank you Liverpool!