Two pioneering projects led by Sheffield Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust have been shortlisted in a national awards programme celebrating healthcare excellence.
A team of obstetric anaesthetists at the Trust have been recognised by The Health Service Journal Awards in the ‘Patient Safety’ category after developing a verbal airway safety checklist to prevent failed intubation for women giving birth under general anaesthetic by emergency caesarean section.
Intubation is the process of inserting a tube through the mouth and then into the airway so that a patient can be placed on a ventilator to assist with breathing during anaesthesia.
The verbal safety checklist uses the acronym “I AM HAPPY” which acts as a prompt to predict problems and improve the preparation and management of the mother’s airway. Importantly it creates a focused period of preparation for the anaesthetist and the operating departmental practitioner who work together to perform general anaesthesia. The introduction of the checklist has seen the number of life-threatening failed intubation cases during emergency caesarean sections drop down to zero in the past three years at a time when national rates have remained static.
Dr Fleur Roberts, obstetric anaesthesia clinical lead, said: “We are very pleased with the success of the “I AM HAPPY” airway checklist project in reducing life-threatening failed intubation incidents. The main feedback from trainee and consultant anaesthetists is that the checklist allows them time to concentrate and even if difficulties are encountered they are managed in a safer way. The success of this safety initiative could not have been achieved without the support and dedication of the multidisciplinary operating theatre team at the Jessop Wing Hospital.”
The Trust has also been recognised in the ‘Staff Engagement’ category after introducing a raft of initiatives to promote staff health and wellbeing and achieving above national average scores in employee engagement in the 2017 annual NHS staff survey
This included the rollout of free health checks for all staff over 40, free access to the popular Headspace meditation app, more training for managers in wellbeing and resilience as well as a staff physiotherapy service. Staff are encouraged to participate in the annual Move More physical activity programme.
Together with these health and wellbeing initiatives, the Trust has supported staff to continuously improve the services they offer, and a regular ‘Give it a Go Week’ is run in June where staff can test and try new ideas to improve patient care.
Mark Gwilliam, director of human resources and staff development at Sheffield Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust, said: “This award recognises the fantastic efforts we have made in better supporting our staff’s health and wellbeing and engagement. This has been reflected in feedback from staff in the 2018 annual NHS staff survey with more staff than the national average recommending Sheffield Teaching Hospitals as a place to work, and the Trust achieving its lowest staff absenteeism rates in years and being rated as one of the best Trusts in the country for staff retention in the NHS.”
A new People Strategy was launched in July to ensure that the Trust continues to attract and retain some of the best people working in the NHS.
The winners will be announced at a special ceremony in London on 21st November 2018.