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Academic award for clinical engineer

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A clinical engineer at Basildon University Hospital has been awarded for his excellent performance in his foundation degree course.

Daniel Couzens, 48, works for the trust’s medical equipment management service (MEMS), who are responsible for procuring, maintaining and repairing medical equipment in the trust.

He has spent the last two years completing a medical technologies foundation degree course at Kingston University in London.

Of all the students in his class, he was selected by a panel to be given the William E Schall Award for excellence. The panel choose the best student to contribute academically and through interaction with fellow students and tutors.

Daniel was presented with the award at the annual conference of the Institute of Healthcare Engineering and Estate Management.

He said: “I knew there were awards but I didn’t think it would be me. At first it was hard balancing a full time job with studying part-time, but you get used to it and it becomes your life. I’d study every lunchtime, most nights after work, study time and weekends.

“I decided to do the foundation degree because although I had qualifications and a wealth of experience in the industry, I didn’t have an industry recognised qualification. I spoke to my manager about it, and it went from there.”

The course covered a wide range of subjects including, anatomy and physiology, fluid delivery, procurement, health and safety and infection control, frequency dependent equipment, x-ray, maths and science.

Daniel has now signed up for a top-up course to turn his qualification into a BSE Honours.

He added: “I finished the course at the end of January and I didn’t know what to do with myself. So I signed up for another 18 months - I’ll be 50 by the time I finish. Thankfully my family are very supportive.”

Gary Cordery, Head of MEMS and Daniel’s mentor, said: “We’re immensely proud of Dan for not only completing his foundation degree while holding down a full time job, but for also winning this award. Work-based foundation degrees are a great way for staff to improve their knowledge and skills and become a greater asset to the team, which has already been put into use within the department.”

Raising awareness of the importance of effective clinical audits

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Staff at Basildon University Hospital learnt more about carrying out effective clinical audits as part of Clinical Audit Awareness Week.

The team was promoting the use of quality improvement methodology, which involves regular, smaller audits to show the results of changes in real time.

This boosts motivation and morale as staff can see the outcome more quickly, of the changes which have been made and how it affects the patient experience and patient safety.

Tracy Turner, clinical effectiveness manager, said: “Usually staff carry out an audit, make changes, then re-audit a number of months later. But if we monitor in real time, for example five cases per week instead of 50 per quarter, we are able to see the results of changes more quickly, decide on their effectiveness and make further changes.”

Clinical Audit Awareness Week runs from 20-24 October and is organised by the Healthcare Quality Improvement Partnership. 

As well as the information stand, our team held a QI Café in the Education Centre, which was an open surgery for anyone who wanted advice, help or support for QI projects to sit down have a cup of tea, a cake and a chat.

Tracy added: “In this financial year 2014/15, we have 23 corporate audits, 51 national audits and 302 local clinical audits. If these each lead to one sustainable improvement in practice, then it is worth it.”

special remembrance service for families who have lost a baby

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A special remembrance service for families who have lost a baby will take place on Sunday 2 November.

The annual Basildon and Thurrock University Hospitals Forget-Me-Not service of remembrance and thanksgiving is organised by the hospital’s chaplaincy team, with the help of the bereavement midwives.

The service is held to unite and support parents and family members in remembrance of their children. The service includes prayers, poems, readings and an opportunity for families to light a candle in memory of their baby.

It is also a chance to donate to the hospital’s Forget-Me-Not suite, which was designed with such families in mind.

The service will begin at 3pm at the Trinity Methodist Church, Clayhill Road, Basildon.

Crèche facilities are available.

For further information please contact the Chaplains at Basildon Hospital on 01268 524900 ext. 3503, or the hospital’s Bereavement Midwife on 01268 524900 ext. 1516.

Last Updated on Tuesday, 21 October 2014 12:47

Basildon Hospital leads the way on stroke care

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Basildon University Hospital's Hyper Acute Stroke Unit is among the best performing in the East of England according to official statistics released this week.

The Royal College of Physicians data shows that patients treated for stroke at Basildon Hospital, receive rapid access to the best available drugs; have a better chance of surviving and are more likely to return home than go into care.

The hospital's stroke service – which covers South Essex – also provides some of the best physiotherapy and occupational therapy services across the sector which improves the chances of patients retaining their independence after suffering a stroke.

Patients also benefit from rapid access to scanning equipment which helps doctors establish how best to manage their stroke, improving outcomes.

A key indicator for a successful stroke services is access to thromboloysis, a clot busting drug which if administered rapidly, can improve – and save – lives.

Basildon Hospital is the second best performing hospital in the East of England, behind Colchester, when it comes to thromobolysing patients, according to the Stroke Service National Audit Programme (SSNAP) data which assesses 44 key indicators.

Meanwhile, more than nine out of ten patients who are treated at Basildon Hospital survive their stroke – above the national average.

The hospital is one of only a few across the sector which provides the same high quality stroke service – with access to consultants, nurses and therapists – 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

Dr Ravi Rangasamy, clinical lead for stroke medicine at Basildon University Hospital, said: "This is really encouraging news for stroke patients who come to Basildon Hospital.

"They, and their families, can have confidence that if they are unfortunate enough to suffer a stroke, they will be getting some of the very best care the NHS has to offer."

Earlier this year Basildon and Brentwood Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) and Thurrock CCG made an additional £1 million investment for stroke services at Basildon.

Basildon Hospital has used some of the extra funding to extend consultant cover to seven days a week, increase the number of beds on the Hyper Acute Stroke Unit to ten; recruit an additional consultant taking the total number to five; recruit a dietician; additional nurses, a clinical psychologist and additional therapists.

Tom Abell, chief officer at Basildon and Brentwood CCG, said: "Improving the care of stroke patients within Basildon and Brentwood is one of our key priorities. It's incredibly encouraging that the extra investment that we, together with Thurrock CCG, have put into local stroke services has helped to transform outcomes for patients with more lives being saved and more patients being given the intensive support needed to make a better recovery."

Case study: Patricia Barnes

When Patricia Barnes set off for Lakeside on Tuesday last week (October) 14, it wasn't going to be the shopping trip she had bargained for.

After leaving her home in Orsett Village, other motorists saw her car 'zig-zagging' inexplicably across Stifford Clays Road.

Mrs Barnes only recalls hearing a bang and her car's airbags exploding in her face. The blue flashing lights she soon saw told her that the police and paramedics had arrived on the scene.

She had suffered a stroke. Time was now of the essence.

Two million neurons are lost in your brain every minute after a stroke. Rapid access to thromboloysis, a clot busting drug, is crucial as it dramatically improves outcomes and saves lives.

Mrs Barnes was rushed to Basildon University Hospital's hyper-acute stroke unit where she received the crucial treatment. Just 48 hours later she was sitting up in her hospital bed, sharing a joke with her close family.

"It was Tuesday evening and I decided I would go to Lakeside," recalls Mrs Barnes, a mother of two who has lived in Orsett since 1978. "I wasn't aware of feeling unwell or giddy but all I remember is a bit of a bang – I thought I had hit the curb.

"I really didn't know what had happened until somebody opened the door and the emergency services arrived. Somebody said I had hit a parked car and my speech was slurred. They assessed me in the ambulance and brought me to Basildon Hospital.

"They explained that if you catch a stroke early it improves your chances - it's all about time.

"When I first came to hospital my leg and my arm felt like a lead weight and I thought I might not be able to use them again. I've been here 48 hours and I'm now able to move both of them.

"I was lucky to be so near to Basildon because it meant I got the drug I needed quickly. The care here has been fantastic."

Photo (L-R): Dr Ravi Rangasamy, clinical lead for stroke medicine at Basildon University Hospital; Patricia Barnes; Jacqueline Lim, senior ward sister

Basildon Hospital chief executive to lead safety drive

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The chief executive of Basildon and Thurrock University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust is to play a key role in improving patient safety for six million people in London and three of the home counties, as part of a new Government drive.

A national programme was launched this week by Jeremy Hunt, the Secretary of State for Health, to tackle the leading causes of avoidable harm to patients.

Clare Panniker will chair one of 15 patient safety collaboratives across England that will focus on key safety areas. The priorities of each group will be determined by local need, and might include issues such as reducing pressure ulcers, falls or medical device errors.

The collaborative covers Essex, Bedfordshire, Hertfordshire and parts of London. It is led by UCLPartners, a not-for-profit academic, health and science partnership that works with NHS organisations to bring about improvements in healthcare.

The initial priorities of the UCLPartners programme will be sepsis and acute kidney injury – both major and under-recognised causes of avoidable mortality. 

UCLP places a strong emphasis on high standards of patient safety and arming doctors and nurses with the skills essential to achieve these.

In the past 18 months, Basildon Hospital has been working with UCLP to improve recognition of the early warning signs of deteriorating patients. This has led to a reduction in the hospital’s mortality rates and halved avoidable cardiac arrests. The joint working arrangement has also resulted in additional training for doctors and nurses identify patients with sepsis, one of the UK’s biggest killers.

Clare said:“Patient safety is an absolute priority for everybody at Basildon and Thurrock University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust. Our work with UCLP has already had a demonstrable impact on the quality and safety of care our patients receive.

“Healthcare organisations should always be learning from each other and sharing best practice – that’s what this collaborative is about. I am delighted to be chair of this group and look forward to driving these improvements forward even further.”

Last Updated on Thursday, 16 October 2014 08:41

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