Falls pilot helps NHS save cash

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WIGAN’S hospitals say they are reaping the benefits of a pilot scheme which has improved patient safety and saved money.

Wrightington, Wigan and Leigh NHS Foundation Trust (WWL) has been using the falls initiative since January 2010 and say that it has already improved care and saved the trust money.

The scheme was first piloted in 2009 and was brought in to ensure less patients fall in hospital, which in turn reduces further injury and complications and therefore saves WWL money.

In the first quarter of 2011 the cost to the Trust, due to serious falls, was £27, 482.74. This figure includes all surgical procedures, scans/x-rays, medication, extended hospital stay and staffs time. Through the success of the initiative this cost was dramatically reduced to £2,250 at the end of the third quarter of 2011.

Pauline Jones, deputy director of nursing and performance said “These reductions in harm and expense caused by falls are testament to the hard work of our staff; although we still have further improvements to make.

The trust also participates in the Energising for Excellence (E4E) initiative, which is about re-energising compassion and care in nursing.

E4E includes the reduction of harm in many areas, one of which is falls.” E4E is a quality framework for nurses, midwives and health visitors which aims to support the delivery of safe and effective care; creating positive patient and staff experiences that build-in momentum and sustainability. E4E gives nurses the ability to challenge the status quo and encourage revolutionary change where it matters most - at the point where care is delivered.

The scheme aims to reduce falls by 50 per cent over two years, which estimates could save health trusts with an average of 800 beds up to £120,000 a year. It is now hoped that all health trusts will use the scheme in the near future.