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Innovative projects helping to improve patient safety at Sherwood Forest Hospitals are shortlisted for national award

An innovative new system that is helping King’s Mill Hospital to cut the number of unnecessary admissions and get elderly and vulnerable patients back home quickly has been shortlisted for a national Patient Safety Award.

The new communication system, developed by Sherwood Forest Hospitals, Nottinghamshire Health Informatics Service (NHIS) and Nottinghamshire County Council, allows staff working in the Emergency Department at King’s Mill Hospital to have access to some key aspects of information held on Nottinghamshire County Council’s Adult Social Care electronic records once the patient has consented to information being shared.

A secure connection between Sherwood Forest Hospitals and Nottinghamshire County Council enables Emergency Department staff to see whether a social care package is in place for a patient so that they can make a more informed decision about whether the patient can be sent home safely, whatever the time of day, knowing that the right care and support is in place at home.

Before having this connection, staff had to rely on asking a social care worker to look up the person on the social care system. This was much more time-consuming and was not possible at certain times of day (i.e. from 5pm to 8am).

The programme has been shortlisted in the Product or Innovation category at the awards, which recognise and reward outstanding practice within the NHS and independent healthcare organisations.

A second Sherwood Forest Hospitals improvement initiative has also been shortlisted in the Perioperative and Surgical Care category. This is for improvements made to the pathway of patients with, or at risk of, Obstructive Sleep Apnoea. The newly developed pathway has helped identify patients at risk of sleep apnoea earlier. Sleep Apnoea is a potentially serious sleep disorder that causes breathing to repeatedly stop and start during sleep and can cause issues for patients when they are put under anaesthetic.

If before an operation a patient is assessed as being at risk of moderate or severe Obstructive Sleep Apnoea, they are referred to the Trust’s Sleep Medicine Service. Patients are then screened at home overnight before their operation and the results reviewed. If it would be beneficial, patients are then offered Continuous Positive Airway Pressure (CPAP) treatment for a week, where they wear a face or nasal mask that provides a flow of air into the nasal passages to keep the airways open. After the week the patient is re-assessed and decisions are then made in terms of anaesthetic and treatment they might need following the operation.

This new way of working is helping to reduce unpleasant experiences for patients and means that more patients can be treated as a day-case patient rather than having to stay in overnight.

The news comes just weeks after it was announced that the Trust has been shortlisted in five categories in the Health Service Journal (HSJ) Value Awards.

Chief Executive at Sherwood Forest Hospitals, Richard Mitchell, said: “I am very proud of our teams that have, once again, been shortlisted for such prestigious healthcare awards. Being a finalist for these awards recognises our teams’ commitment to improving safety and efficiency in healthcare and leading the way in best practice.”

The winners will be announced at an awards ceremony on Monday 9 July. For more information about the Patient Safety Awards, visit the website.