The WWL Way
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WWL already leads the way with Quality and Safety Champions

Newsdate: 31 March 2014

Following Health Minister Jeremy Hunt’s announcement last week ‘Sign up for Safety’, Wrightington, Wigan and Leigh NHS Foundation Trust (WWL) are delighted to announce that we already have a number of initiatives in place to drive the quality and safety agenda forward across our Trust.

At the beginning of 2012, we set up a programme encouraging all our staff to sign up to become Quality and Safety Champions.  We now have 180 Quality and Safety Champions trust-wide and this number continues to increase on a monthly basis as more and more staff join the programme.

The Quality and Safety Champions are just one part of WWL’s strategy to build a quality and safety culture at WWL and involve and engage all our staff in improving quality and safety for patients.
Linda Smyth Head of Quality Improvement says: “The programme is completely voluntary and we are absolutely delighted at the uptake.    Quality Champions are supported to develop skills in quality and safety improvement through a dedicated training course which is extremely popular with staff.  The initiative is open to everyone regardless of their position in the organisation and we actively encourage staff to sign up and put forward their ideas for improvement.  We then support them into putting these ideas into action.   Staff that have already completed the training range from consultants and executive directors to more junior clinical staff. However, the scheme is not just about clinical staff making a difference; many champions come from an admin and clerical or estates and facilities background.”
Linda continues: “The Quality and Safety Champions are fully supported by the Executive team all of whom are champions themselves. Chief Executive Andrew Foster takes a close personal interest in all of the Quality Champion projects. He chairs the monthly Quality and Safety Champions Committee where the champions are invited to report on their progress.  We have had fantastic feedback from our champions who find the initiative extremely rewarding in that they can really make a difference for patients.”

Existing Champions are undertaking very important pieces of work, and there are 45 live projects in progress. Some examples of current initiatives are:

  • Reducing harm from urinary catheterisation
  • Improving nutrition and hydration
  • Involving our patients more in decisions about their care
  • Reducing deaths from sepsis
  • Improving first appointment letters
  • Improving tissue viability referrals
  • Reducing medication omissions
  • Reducing harm from falls
  • Improving end of life care
  • Reducing length of stay for patients with fractured hip

There is a reward and recognition system in place so that Quality and Safety Champions can be easily recognised by bronze, silver and gold badges which are awarded to staff at our annual staff ‘Recognising Excellence Event’ which celebrates the achievements of staff over the year.

The badge system works as follows:

  • Bronze - awarded once Champions have undertaken training in quality improvement methods and started work on an improvement project
  • Silver - awarded to those Champions who have delivered measurable and sustained improvements
  • Gold - awarded to Champions who have delivered multiple large scale improvements and shared their good practice beyond the Trust.

Andrew Foster, Chief Executive says: "The Quality and Safety Champions are part of our defined Quality Strategy which reflects national and local challenges as well as highlighting local success. WWL continues to work extremely hard to improve the quality and safety of care provided to patients. We define our strategy for quality as being safe, effective and caring with patient safety always remaining our highest priority. We were one of the first early adopters in the North West in adopting a duty of candour and being an open and transparent organisation and as part of this we routinely publicise our harms on a monthly basis on our website.”

Andrew continues: “We have already made a real difference with reducing the hospital mortality rate, the level of hospital acquired infections as well as reducing the harm to patients, but we recognise there is a great deal more work to be done. Our aim as an organisation is to be in the top 10% of everything that we do.”