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VIP visits to our VIP Trust!

Our Trust has been lucky enough to have some rather high profile visits recently, from both Her Royal Highness The Princess Royal, and the Rt Hon Jeremy Hunt MP, the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care.

You may wonder why two such high profile figures have chosen to visit sleepy Bury St Edmunds, but I think it’s testament to the innovative, high quality work our NHS staff are doing, and the esteem our outstanding Trust is held in.  

Although these visits were totally separate, from a royal and a political figure, the link between them is the innovations that we showcased to them and the interest they had in our exemplary staff.

Her Royal Highness visited us as Patron of the Royal College of Occupational Therapists, where she met staff and heard first-hand about the work of occupational therapists across the west of the county. We were then delighted to host a visit from the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, to discuss patient safety in the NHS.

Our occupational therapy teams provide innovative therapy services for patients to help them improve their independence, health, and ability to complete everyday tasks. We have a support to go home service, which provides close collaboration between health acute and social services to support the timely discharge of patients back home; the medically optimised team, which supports moving patients from the hospital to more appropriate beds in the community; and the early intervention team, which supports admission prevention to the hospital from the emergency department, and from the community for patients whose medical needs can be managed at home by putting in the necessary therapy and care required.

During his visit to the West Suffolk Hospital, the Rt Hon Jeremy Hunt MP listened to a presentation from our executive chief nurse, Rowan Procter, and our medical director, Dr Nick Jenkins. Rowan showcased an app that we use across all our wards to track any issues and ensure high quality standards through audits, where we can pull real time reports to see where we need to focus our attentions and support. Nick presented our trial of an app which helps our staff communicate with each other securely within the Trust without the use of old-fashioned pagers and landlines.

Mr Hunt was then shown a demonstration of the Trust’s new vital signs monitors by nurse and nursing informatics lead Ian Coe; these machines measure a patient’s blood pressure, temperature, oxygen saturation and pulse and all other required parameters to enable immediate calculation of Early Warning Scores (EWS), which help to identify acutely unwell patients early. By scanning a barcode on the patient’s wrist, these readings are then placed directly into the patient’s electronic care record, reducing the risk of human error and saving time from data having to be inputted manually.

It’s never easy to innovate when the day-to-day pressures are so high and everyone is so busy. This is the same in any business, not just the NHS. However, you have to have the right kind of people, the staff that choose to make their working lives a bit more tricky, to eventually make them better, or to work in a different way, in the hope that it will improve the quality of the service you deliver in the long term.

If you never try anything new, or anything innovative, how can we ever expect to improve outcomes or hit on something that is good?

Jeremy Hunt said that we are setting an example for the rest of the NHS to follow. I think we set an example to any organisation – to become outstanding and world-leading you have to try things that no one else has tried before, and be brave.

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Chief executive, Steve Dunn

Chief executive, Steve Dunn