Collaboration Can Help To Relieve Pressure On NHS, Says Expert

Innovative collaboration, simplified grading and a new reporting system could help to improve the problems posed by pressure ulcers to NHS trusts, according to presentations given by tissue viability expert Jacqui Fletcher and Graham Ewart, Managing Director of Direct Healthcare Services at a Direct Healthcare Services event this week.

Project Manager at the Welsh Innovation Centre, Ms Fletcher spoke to more than 40 Tissue Viability Nurses from across the UK at the ‘Making a Measurable Difference’ seminar, held at the St David’s Hotel and Spa in Cardiff.

The event aimed to outline the problem pressure injuries pose to the NHS, discuss best practice and the benefits of collaborative working.

Discussing challenges in meeting targets and treating pressure injuries, Ms Fletcher said that improving grading methods and pressure ulcer definitions could help to combat the issue.

Ms Fletcher suggested a different approach to improving quality of care, through collaborative working, and new grading and reporting systems uniformly adopted across NHS trusts.

As part of her recommendations, Ms Fletcher said a potential solution could be a streamlined grading process that has two – as opposed to four- defining categories and very different treatment methods. For example, one category may be reversible and simple to treat, in comparison to the long-term intensive care needed for the other. This may help to reduce paperwork, so care time is not compromised.

She added the challenges faced by the NHS have created an opportunity to innovate to achieve real improvement.

Suggestions included commercial partnership models whereby suppliers provide technical support to clinicians, in addition to embracing advanced equipment to prevent the burden pressure ulcers place on health trusts.

Direct Healthcare Services showcased innovative Intelligent™ Pressure Care Management products, designed to deliver major cost reductions by preventing the escalation of pressure damage at the point of patient admission.

Ms Fletcher said: “It is fundamental that we work with suppliers to tackle the problem of pressure injuries in the NHS. Due to budget cuts and restrictions, there is an increased amount of strain on nurses to meet targets, while still providing quality care for patients. We should focus our data collection efforts on supporting improvements in care rather than creating league tables.”

“Due to this, I am actively encouraging trusts to see the benefit of innovative and creative working that can tackle issues, whilst allowing nurses to perform at their best. We need to see more of this creative thinking and procurement across the board.”

Graham Ewart, Managing Director of Direct Healthcare Services, added:

“Jacqui’s presentation showed that it is time for industry to interact more closely with the NHS – and in a different way- with the NHS. From our experience of delivering successful partnership programmes, we know that innovation and collaboration can help to generate new income streams, reduce costs and free up bed space for patients.”

“Our event highlighted the benefits of partnership working in delivering the clinical outcomes necessary to effect real change. I would strongly urge all suppliers to recognise how they can deliver better value to the NHS.”

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