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Cup innovation gets the green light

Sometimes the simplest change can make a big difference. An idea has proved this at West Suffolk NHS Foundation Trust (WSFT) recently. Green cups are now being used to signify a drink that contains soluble medication, to avoid it accidently being tipped away for fresh water, and to ensure nurses encourage a patient to consume the whole amount.

This cheap and effective innovation was submitted into a freedom to improve suggestion box in the hospital by staff nurse Kate Ramsey, who came up with the idea when she was studying at the University of Suffolk.

Kate said the simple cup colour change has made a difference: “When doing my nursing degree I realised that the cups used for the water fountains, and for patients’ medications look exactly the same, with nothing to distinguish between them. I thought it would be good to have a system in place which easily flags which fluids have soluble medication within them, to ensure they are not accidentally thrown away, and that they are identified as a priority for the patient to consume.

“I joined the Trust around 18 months ago, and never forgot about my idea, so decided to put it in the staff suggestion box. I thought nothing of it, but some weeks later the transformation team came to me and said they wanted to implement my idea.”

Marie Marfleet, clinical project manager in the transformation team at WSFT, who was instrumental in the process, said: “We encourage staff on every level to put forward their ideas in a free and open forum. Kate’s idea is a fantastic example of an idea becoming a reality, and instantly improving patient safety and outcomes. We implemented Kate’s innovation across all hospital wards. It has minimal cost implications, and the cups are all dishwasher safe and hard-wearing.”

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Kate Ramsey, staff nurse

Kate Ramsey, staff nurse