Handover time of ambulance patients at Stevenage’s Lister Hospital goes from worst to best in East of England

PUBLISHED: 07:00 14 July 2017

CREDIT: East and North Herts NHS Trust.

CREDIT: East and North Herts NHS Trust.

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The NHS trust which runs Lister Hospital in Stevenage has gone from being one of the worst performers when it comes to meeting targets for the handover of patients arriving by ambulance to being the best in the east of England.

CREDIT: East and North Herts NHS Trust. CREDIT: East and North Herts NHS Trust.

When an ambulance arrives at A&E, there are two national standards to be met – the hospital team has 15 minutes to complete the handover of the patient from the ambulance crew, who in turn have a further 15 minutes to get their vehicle ready to be deployed again.

Just 10 to 15 per cent of ambulances arriving at Lister, which is run by the East and North Herts NHS Trust, were meeting this standard until a new system trialled in March transformed the performance – and now more than 80 per cent are achieving the target.

Kate Masterson, matron at Lister’s A&E department, said: “With the help of colleagues in the NHS trust and the local ambulance service, we set about redesigning the handover process.

“The same steps are followed, but the sequence and how they are carried out has been changed to eliminate inefficiencies and wasted time.

“Overnight, the NHS trust went from being pretty much the worst performer in the region to being the best.

“From 10 per cent of ambulances being turned around within the overall 30-minute window, the new handover system saw that figure rise to 80 per cent, where it has stayed ever since and, in some weeks, the team delivered the best performance in the country.”

Dave Fountain, deputy director of service delivery at the East of England Ambulance Service NHS Trust, added: “If we are waiting to hand over our patients at the front doors of our local hospitals, then we are unable to respond to life-threatening 999 emergency calls in surrounding areas.

“I am very happy that many months of work are now proving to have a real impact on patient safety and care.”

The improved performance at Lister has other benefits too – the sickest patients are now being identified much more quickly, which means they are being seen by relevant specialist teams more rapidly and treatment is starting faster than before.

The hospital trust says instances of patients waiting on trolleys have also been significantly reduced.

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