Back to Basics – a department-wide initiative to improve patient experience in the emergency department

Trust/Practice: Walsall Healthcare NHS Trust

What did they do?

It was clear to the trust and the ED department, through the FFT and other patient feedback sources, that patients using emergency department services were having a poor experience. The ED leadership team took stock of the situation through staff and patient engagement activities before embarking upon an improvement programme (‘Back to Basics’) which looked at the various issues openly and differently. As part of the programme, a range of improvement measures were put in place. These included:

  • Giving FFT champions the responsibility of sharing FFT themes and trends on a regular basis
  • Getting staff at all levels involved in weekly patient experience huddles, to have open conversation about both the positive and negative FFT themes. This resulted in increased awareness of FFT feedback and staff getting involved and taking ownership of improvements.
  • Developing innovative measures to improve the environment for patients, including a patient journey map, signage, a waiting times ticker and filming of an ED video describing what happens and when
  • Involving local service user in improvement planning and implementation
  • Process mapping and collaboration with other clinical teams to shorten the time that patients with minor injuries spend in ED

The ‘Back to Basics’ patient experience improvement programme has had far-reaching positive results, including an increase in the FFT ‘would recommend’ scores, improvements in patient pathway times and greater empowerment for staff.

What did they learn?

“We feel that this programme stands out because as a starting point we put focus on listening to and understanding patient, carer and staff experiences. The insight gained was then used as the core of the ‘Back to Basics’ improvement programme.”

The team believe that the following key elements contributed to the programme’s success:

  • Co-production and co-creation of improvements with service users and staff members
  • Getting members working at different tiers to form part of the working group. This helped to increase the accountability and responsibility amongst the wider team and ensured that the results of the project were cascaded to every member of the team.
  • Having strong leadership and a vision
  • The patient experience team worked alongside the ED team, not only to ensure that the team were aware of the problems but also to support the solution