The King’s Fund have published a report containing a series of essays that have been collated, introduced and summaries by Chris Ham and Don Berwick. The essays have been written by a range of authors including, frontline clinicians, managers, quality improvement champions and patients in order to outline how clinical care is currently provided by frontline NHS staff and how care processes, particularly those for acutely ill medical patients, can be improved.
The case studies within the report suggest that the pressures on clinical staff are increasing along with demand for their services and constraints on their resources. The case studies further illustrate that clinical teams and trust leaders are already working together to develop solutions to the problems they face. However, to further improve care processes:
- Individual hospitals and national leaders should seek out and utilise the insights of junior doctors as they are best placed to provide insights into the realities of care on the frontline on a hospital to hospital basis.
- Clinical staff should collaborate on, and co-ordinate the treatment of patients.
- Standardised care and systems which specify how clinical work is done should be introduced.
- Trusts must work to create a culture of care where ‘the needs of the patient come first’.
- The leaders of NHS trusts must focus on and work to improve the operating systems through which front line clinical care is organised.
It is hoped that the case studies included within this report will draw more attention to the experiences of staff and patients in an NHS that is facing unprecedented pressures. Ham and Berwick conclude the report by appealing first to NHS managers and clinicians, urging them to work together to ensure that care is provided safely and secondly to the government, asking them to consider changing their approach to performance management and improvement to take into account the pressures being faced by staff, patients and national regulators. Click here to read.