A passion of staff at all levels to deliver quality
I wasn’t entirely sure what to expect on this particular connecting visit, having already done two connecting visits before in acute settings.
A group of us recently visited Central London Community Healthcare NHS Trust and we started by being given an overview of the trust. I was really struck by the overview given. The organisation, which covers 4 London boroughs, serves a population of almost a million in a wide range of hospital and community settings. With around 400 separate sites, it is rather an unusual healthcare organisation. Notwithstanding this, the mantre of delivering the highest quality ran through all the bits of the organisation which I visited.
The pupil referral unit was fascinating…
One of the highlights for me was spending the day in primary, secondary schools and a pupil referral unit with numerous school nurses. The pupil referral unit was fascinating. I knew of them but had never before visited one or really understood the challenges that the staff there face – they deal with young people excluded from school with a wide range of behavioural problems. As most of the pupils mainly of secondary age don’t go back to a school, the approach of the staff is to build them up to try and get their GCSEs, describing this to the pupils as a make or break situation with regards to their life prospects. They seem to have pretty good results, supported by school nurses.
Visiting a palliative care ward
The other element of the visit which will stay with me for a long time was visiting a palliative care ward. Again, somewhere I have never been, but the quality of the care given in a range of settings; day care, in-patient and in the community was impressive. The aftercare given to relatives on losing their loved one was something that I hadn’t appreciated was delivered by a palliative care service.
Keeping quality to the fore at all times
My take home from the experience was of a very varied set of functions in a wide variety of settings, and a passion of staff at all levels to deliver quality. I also now have some good contacts to test policy ideas with, which is something I am finding really valuable.
So, what did I really learn from connecting then? I saw an organisation, which was made up of lots of small and some much bigger units spread across a large area, and witnessed how the leadership of that organisation had managed to drive home their key message for all the staff - to provide the best possible care and keep quality to the fore at all times. If this can be done in an organisation where communication is not always easy, then I think it sends a message to all organisations that it should be possible to continuously drive up quality.