When you go into hospital you want to know you are in expert hands. That means all staff are skilled and consistent in the application of your plan of care – no matter who is on shift; a new staff member or an experienced one. That’s Ellern Mede.Staff care for you in the best way, using the best evidence.

How does Ellern Mede achieve that? Our quality systems such as clinical audit, daily checks, training, clinical governance, policies and protocols all work together to protect our patients and to support our staff in providing high quality care. So to choose just one of these lets look at policies:

Do ‘policies’ sound boring? For us to want to share it with readers – is that bureaucracy not just “gone mad” but gone stark raving bonkers?

Of course there is a case for good systems. They are wholly essential.  How do we know we are doing something right if it is not written down?  We all know the old saying from war time where you start at one end of your troops with the message “send reinforcements we are going to advance” and by the time it gets to its final intended recipient it has changed into “send three and four pence we are going to a dance”.

We avoid such failures in communication by writing things down. But how do we know our policies and processes are the most appropriate for their purpose? In medical settings, everything we do is researched and evidence-based. By sharing best practice, we know the best way to do things. Medical practitioners and managers have to be continuously learning and staying up to date on changing guidelines and legislation to inform our policies. If something changes, our policies need to reflect it.

Ellern Mede has a logical system for scanning new evidence; for document control; for regular review of policies AND for ensuring all staff are familiar with them. This is a key part of International Organisation for Standardisation (ISO) standards.

We have over 100 policies. As part of induction, all our staff read all policies relevant to their particular job role and sign that they have read them in our electronic learning system, My Learning Cloud.

Every policy has an author and a reviewer. There is a four year cycle during which all policies are reviewed such that the process is continuous, however each policy author is responsible for horizon scanning and alerting the Policy Committee to any changes. All significant policy changes are recorded and the new revised policy is flagged to all relevant staff to read and sign they have read the change. The Policy Committee meets every two months.

Peter Curtis, Managing Director explains: “Policies might sound boring on the face of it but here at Ellern Mede, we are as passionate about policies as we are about patient care.” We are sure patients and their families will definitely agree on that. Look out for more blogs about our quality systems.