November 2018 - GIRFT Stakeholder News - Read online

Stakeholder News

First wave of Veteran Aware hospitals accredited 

As the nation marked the 100th anniversary of the end of the First World War, the NHS celebrated the first wave of new Veteran Aware hospitals with an event at the Royal National Orthopaedic Hospital, Stanmore, last week.

Some 25 acute hospital trusts, all accredited by the Veterans Covenant Hospital Alliance (VCHA), a network facilitated by GIRFT and NHS Improvement, are now leading the way in improving NHS care for veterans and members of the armed forces community by:

  • Providing training to staff to be aware of veterans’ specific needs;
  • Making past and present servicemen and women aware of appropriate charities or NHS services beneficial to them, such as mental health services or support with financial and/or benefit claims;
  • Ensuring that the armed forces community is never disadvantaged compared to other patients, in line with the NHS’s commitment to the Armed Forces Covenant.

In 2014, Professor Tim Briggs CBE, co-chair of the VCHA and chair of the GIRFT programme, wrote The Chavasse Report on improving armed forces and veteran care while raising NHS standards. His report recommended establishing a support network of hospitals. The resulting VCHA works closely with NHS Improvement, NHS England, service charities and the Ministry of Defence.

Lieutenant General Martin Bricknell, Surgeon General, said: “The strong partnership between the MoD and the NHS highlights our commitment to the through-life care of our service personnel and veterans. The Veteran Aware scheme is a fantastic initiative that will ensure the particular needs of the Armed Forces community are at the heart of their care."

Matt Hancock, Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, said: "Veteran Aware hospitals will help provide integrated care and a single source of advice to veterans on the support available to them and I want to see this initiative rolled out across the country."

We encourage all trusts to apply to become Veteran Aware. F
urther information is available online and by contacting

Getting It Right In Emergency Care

An advice pack has been issued to all trusts to help support their management of patient flow at times of increased pressures, which can become particularly acute during the winter months.

The pack, Getting It Right In Emergency Care, was produced by Prof Tim Briggs and Dr Cliff Mann (GIRFT clinical co-lead for emergency medicine), in collaboration with the NHS Emergency Care Intensive Support Team (ECIST), and has been well received. It was also distributed as part of NHS England’s wider winter guidance to trusts.

The pack sets out examples of interventions that NHS trusts can adopt to improve patient flow and help to manage the pressures that occur in emergency care.

GIRFT clinical leads have now completed over 1,450 deep dive trust visits, which have identified many examples of good practice. The pack showcased measures already being practiced in trusts, including good practice on decongesting emergency departments, the admission of frail patients, effective discharge processes and staffing models. By pulling these together and sharing useful guidance, we hope that trusts will learn from where others have found practical solutions to maintaining patient flow and good performance.

For further insight into Emergency Care launch >

Emergency Care workshop

GIRFT hosted a workshop on emergency care this autumn, bringing together GIRFT emergency medicine clinical leads and national and regional leaders of other emergency medicine improvement initiatives to ensure good co-ordination and improved understanding. It was the first of a series of such workshops we will be hosting across several GIRFT workstreams.

Around 35 people met at Wellington House, including members of the GIRFT implementation teams, NHSI, CQC and ECIP/ECIST. Joint clinical leads Dr Cliff Mann and Dr Chris Moulton presented the key themes emerging from their trust deep dive meetings to date to show how the data packs are providing an innovative way to deliver sustainable improvements in patient care and patient flow, and will be a valuable resource for trusts in their winter planning.

The overview centred around how to interpret the patient/trust journey through finance and coding, demand, capacity, flow, outcomes and litigation. Discussions were also held around how GIRFT EM works and how we can link in with other organisations such as CQC and ECIP/ECIST.

New faces in the GIRFT team 
Miss Alison Davis 
Professor Adrian Williams
Dr Guy Northover 

GIRFT has recruited a second leading clinician for its mental health workstream.

Dr Guy Northover, who works as a consultant child and adolescent psychiatrist at Berkshire Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust, joins Dr Sridevi Kalidindi in the national review of mental health. Dr Northover will focus on child and adolescent mental health services (CAMHS), while Dr Kalidindi leads on mental health rehabilitation.

GIRFT has also recruited two clinical ambassadors to the London Hub team - Miss Alison Davis from Moorfields Eye Hospital is an existing clinical lead for ophthalmology, and Professor Adrian Williams from University Hospitals Birmingham is an existing senior clinical advisor to the neurology workstream.

GIRFT is also continuing to appoint within its communications, project and regional teams.

Click here for news release on Dr Northover >

Surgical Site Infection (SSI) audit  

Data packs have been shared with 95 trusts across England after the Getting Right First Time (GIRFT) programme carried out an audit of surgical site infection (SSI) rates.

The audit encompassed 59 selected procedures across 13 specialties: breast surgery, cardiothoracic surgery, cranial neurosurgery, ear, nose and throat surgery, general surgery, obstetrics and gynaecology, ophthalmology, oral and maxillofacial surgery, orthopaedic surgery, paediatric general surgery, spinal surgery, urology and vascular surgery.

The aim was to identify the infection rates and assess local practice in the prevention of surgical site infection. GIRFT has shared the results via individual data packs prepared for each of the 95 trusts which participated in the audit.

GIRFT will work with Public Health England to consider how trusts and their surgical units can better monitor SSI rates. GIRFT also intends to run another SSI audit, encouraging all trusts to take part, and enabling GIRFT to begin to use SSI data during the specialty deep dive visits from the end of 2019.


Five minutes with... Professor John Wass

GIRFT's clinical lead for endocrinology talks about his career highlights... and a passion for opera

Q: How did you first become interested in endocrinology?

I first became interested when we started doing pancreatic transplants in diabetics in 1973 at King’s. I initially wanted to do diabetes but then got stuck in endocrinology, which I enjoyed because it can be a lot of fun and has a lot of curable diseases. 

Q: What excites you most about your specialty?
The fact that I can get people better. You are often dealing with young people and can get them back to a very productive life. In fact, you can affect their whole lives, perhaps by helping them to get pregnant or to grow to a normal stature.

Q: What has been the highlight of your career to date?
Being appointed as Professor of Endocrinology in Oxford University because I was able to get a large amount of research going in a busy department that had not previously been research orientated. 

Q: Who or what inspires you?
I am inspired by trying to be efficient, energetic, enthusiastic… and never boring.

Q: How do you relax?
Music helps me relax. In particular I love opera, because it transports me into a temporarily unreal world, which is very therapeutic. My favourite is La traviata – it could have had a happy ending with anti-tuberculosis chemotherapy.
Find out more about the endocrinology workstream here>

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