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Emergency Department wins top national award for its patient-centred care


The RD&E’s Emergency Department (ED) has won a top national accolade for the quality of its patient care after making a raft of improvements over the past four years.
The Royal College of Emergency Medicine awarded the Exeter team first place in the ‘patient experience’ category of their inaugural annual awards. The team were also runners-up in the ‘clinical team of the year’ category.


The accolade comes after staff introduced a series of innovations all designed to improve the safety, comfort and experience of patients, in what might otherwise be a distressing time for them and their families. The team, which gained an ‘outstanding’ rating from the Care Quality Commission in 2016, also focused on boosting staff morale and using a range of patient and staff feedback tools to drive improvements. As a result they have now helped to produce a guideline on ED care, comprising 50 fundamental care standards, which has been adopted nationally by the Royal College.

The work was triggered by the Francis report in 2013, which identified tragic failings in care at the Mid Staffordshire NHS Trust and called on all hospitals to focus more on patients’ individual needs.

Among the things we have introduced for patients are:

Initiatives for staff include:

Lead ED Consultant Dr Lewis Jones said: “We’re very much a team here; compassionate care is nurtured in all staff groups, from cleaner to consultant. Over the past four years since the Francis report we’ve taken steps to change the department’s culture, emphasising the need to put patients not process first, and making sure we look after our staff too.
“Finding yourself in a busy and unfamiliar emergency department through sudden illness or accident can be a hugely anxious time for patients and their families and it’s easy to feel intimidated. We want to reduce this as much as possible and so we’ve worked hard to embed compassion and sensitivity into everything we do. Often it’s the smaller things, such as a warm smile and reassurance that you’re in good hands, that can make a big difference to patients’ overall wellbeing.”

Mr Derek Prentice, Chair of the Honours & Awards Committee and Lay Advisory Group of the Royal College of Emergency Medicine, said: “The Emergency Medicine team at Devon and Exeter Hospital have clearly shown that they are among the best at delivering a patient-focused service. Their entry is an outstanding example of staff who are clearly dedicated to ensuring that the very best patient experience in their department is at the heart of everything they do. Clear and worthy winners.”


Patient case study: Briony Tew

Briony, aged 85 from Wilmington near Honiton, was brought by ambulance to the RD&E’s Emergency Department (ED) on 7 October with stomach pains and nausea after falling ill at home. After being checked over and monitored, she was then admitted to the Acute Medical Unit and Bovey Ward before being discharged 24 hours later.

Speaking of her time in ED, she said: “I was feeling very unwell and weak, but people were so friendly and reassuring. There was such a gentle, reassuring atmosphere. I have worked in personnel a lot and I am very conscious of attitude. I just had this feeling of intense warmth.”

Briony is now recovering well at home, with her two loving dogs, Rolan and Troy, for company.

She added: “I cannot speak too highly about the staff. Not one person was anything but friendly. They were delightful.”


Added 18 October 2017

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