This is a transcript of my My View column that was published in the Doncaster Star on Monday 11 September, 2017
If you’re unfortunate to be very unwell, you may need care at our local hospital Doncaster Royal Infirmary (DRI) to help you get back on your feet.
You could find yourself in hospital through various points, such as via your GP, ambulance or A&E. Your treatment may involve moving to different wards and seeing many different health professionals along the way, doctors, nurses, physiotherapists, occupational therapists and many more.
In hospital, you would be one of hundreds of patients receiving care, all at different stages of recovery. The aim of an ideal healthcare ‘system’ is to make sure patients ‘flow’ though services as quickly and efficiently as possible, seeing the right people, in the right place, at the right time, so they can go home as soon as possible.
I suppose it’s a bit like your central heating system at home – if everything works well, the water moves around and the radiators stay hot. But if there’s a blockage, it creates a dam, stopping the water from flowing round, causing everything to back up and cool down.
Last week, I joined health, social and voluntary care workers in being ‘dambusters’ on a special learning project called System Perfect. We’ve been trying to create, across seven days, the ideal healthcare scenario where everything runs perfectly Working from a control room at DRI, we’ve looked at what we can collectively do to unblock the dams that sometimes stop a patient’s flow through the hospital and community based services they need.
We’re trying to end ‘pyjama paralysis’ – a term used to highlight those patients who are still in a hospital bed when they are medically well enough to continue their recovery at home.
It could be, for example, something as simple as staff being unaware of the wide range of community-based services we have in Doncaster to help patients.
System Perfect finishes tomorrow and then we’ll all get together to see what we have learned that will help patients in the future.
It was good to see real teamwork in action, with staff working together, helping to keep Doncaster patients flowing through the health and social care system with minimal disruption, so they received the care and support they need in a timely fashion.
Workers like Lynette Coates, from Age UK, who went with Doncaster Council assessment officer Jayne Turner to the bedside of a 79-year-old patient who was ready to go home where she lived alone. They went to offer a free carer service after eight weeks in hospital following a stroke.
Everyone who works in health and social care will tell you they strive to do the best they can every week, but sometimes things don’t go to plan. Setting aside time to try and figure out why this happens is time well spent. What we’ve learnt across these seven days will help us all to do better for all patients in the future.