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North Cumbria University Hospitals NHS Trust - 70 years of the NHS


Home > News > Orthopaedic team honoured at national patient safety awards

Orthopaedic team honoured at national patient safety awards

Posted on Wednesday 29th July 2015

The orthopaedc team at the awards ceremony in Birmingham

North Cumbria University Hospitals NHS Trust has been honoured at the national Patient Safety Awards for work to reconfigure its trauma service.

The Trust’s orthopaedic team was a finalist in the Musculoskeletal Care category at the prestigious awards ceremony in Birmingham earlier this month.

Mr David MacKay, clinical director for orthopaedics, set out to the judges the work he and the team have done to create a high quality, modern trauma service of the high standard patients deserve.

Care for all trauma and emergency orthopaedic patients was centralised at the Cumberland Infirmary site in June 2013 and several consultants were recruited to form a team of 12 dedicated trauma surgeons to lead the new service. Dedicated surgeons, anaesthetists and full theatre teams are now available at all times, meaning a truly 24/7 service.

Trauma lists at Carlisle were established from 8am to 6pm seven days a week, reducing trauma waiting times and allowing out-of-hours operating to be restricted to genuine emergency cases.

Daily afternoon trauma clinics were set up so that minor injuries can be consistently seen on the next working day, and morning and evening inpatient ward rounds were also established. Other improvements have included:

• An increase in inpatient trauma beds

• Full time trauma co-ordinator post established

• New guidelines for trauma flow introduced; engagement of anaesthetists and theatre staff to maximise trauma list efficiency

• Appointment of several Care of the Elderly physicians on both sites; majority of patients now seen pre-operatively

• Investment in discharge planning and rehabilitation, with the appointment of a full time nurse to coordinate discharge

In order to minimise travelling and provide a quality service in West Cumbria, the Trust increased the daytime and outpatient provision at West Cumberland Hospital. From 8am to 5pm a trauma surgeon attends from Carlisle to undertake trauma clinics, provide advice to A&E, and see ward referrals. Patients transferred to Carlisle for surgery are repatriated to West Cumberland Hospital as early as possible. 

Mr MacKay explained the main gains achieved by the reconfiguration: “We have created a high quality, modern trauma service of the standard the people of North Cumbria deserve. We have increased our capacity, meaning we can see more patients in our clinics; reduced waiting times for surgery and the average length of stay in hospital; and improved mortality rates.

“We were delighted to be shortlisted for a national Patient Safety Award, recognising the hard work the whole team has put in to improve the level of care we are able to offer our patients.”

Following the introduction of the changes, average length of stay in hospital for orthopaedic trauma patients fell from 14.1 days in November 2013 to 12.3 days in January 2015. The average time patients had to wait for their operation fell from an average of 33.5 hours in November 2013 to 29.7 hours in February 2015.

Trust chief executive Ann Farrar said: “I was absolutely thrilled to hear our orthopaedic team had been honoured at the national Patient Safety Awards. An enormous amount of work went into reconfiguring our trauma service and the many positive changes to our service are now having a demonstrable impact on clinical outcomes for our patients.”

Members of the orthopaedic team attended the awards ceremony on 6 July, which was part of the national Patient Safety Congress in Birmingham.