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Acute Surgical Unit at Royal Lancaster Infirmary wins national award

The Acute Surgical Unit (ASU) at the Royal Lancaster Infirmary was named the victor of the Hartley Larkin Award at the Academy of Fab Stuff’s 2018 awards at Old Billingsgate Vaults, London.

The award looks for projects that have used initiative and hard work to get done, what needs to be done.

The unit won the award for recent improvements to patient flow and care through the surgical department – helping to free up a staggering 68% of surgical beds for acutely unwell patients in need of care.

Ward Managers Sharon Atkinson and Helen Baines, have spearheaded the expansion of the Surgical Emergency Ambulatory Care Unit (SEAC) over the past 18 months, and have been instrumental in driving forward the progress seen by the SEAC Unit.

The SEAC unit has seen positive changes including:

  • Moving to a larger bay area accommodating up to 20 patients at any time and allowing more timely and efficient assessments
  • Opening up capacity to assist with discharges from the hospital’s four surgical wards. This allows the wards to free up beds for planned surgeries, while the discharged patients, who are awaiting medication and transport home, have a comfortable and welcoming environment
  • Extending the clinical skills of two existing Advanced Nurse Practitioners who can now carry out physical assessment and diagnosis, prescribe medication and order patient scans, while awaiting senior medical reviews. This has allowed patients to be seen more quickly through a triage system
  • The allocation of a Clinical Support Worker (CSW) with enhanced clinical skills to cover SEAC day and night shifts alongside the nursing team and work closely with surgical doctors, with a resulting extended skills workforce, and increased staff motivation and autonomy
  • New ways of working for medical staff, with routine and frequent senior reviews to appropriately triage patients for admission, ongoing ambulatory assessment, or discharge
  • A new treatment room has been introduced for examinations, dressings and assessments of patients
  • The adoption of paperlite electronic referrals from the emergency department.

Wendy Craig, Clinical Lead Surgeon for General Surgery at RLI site, David Barrett, Nursing Clinical Leader for the Acute Surgical Unit, Lucy Campbell, Advanced Nurse Practitioner and Vicky Harkin, Clinical Support Worker, all attended the awards ceremony in London.

Wendy  said: “We were delighted and honoured to receive the award on behalf of our brilliant team – we have all pulled together and made the best of resources and people skills, with what we see continuing as an immensely positive development for the department and the Trust.”

Kendal Integrated Care Community (ICC) was nominated in the Rosa Parks Award category.

Kendal ICC is one of several teams across Morecambe Bay working to improve the health and wellbeing of local people. Its projects aim to bring together local health and care professionals, GPs, social care staff, the voluntary sector and the community to work as one team, with a focus on ensuring that when people are ill or need support, they receive the best possible care from the right place.

The Academy of Fab Stuff are national ambassadors of the NHS and all of the fabulous work that goes on around the country at the  front line, in the board rooms, the community and primary care. The academy is led by broadcaster Roy Lilley and Dr Terri Porrett.

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