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Eye care team win national prize at the Bayer Ophthalmology Honours for innovations in surgical pathway

19 December 2017

Sheffield Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust has won a prestigious national award in recognition of innovations which have helped patients undergoing planned eye surgery.

Specialist staff including nurses, administrative staff, clinicians and service improvement took home the Best Ophthalmology Team  Award at the Bayer Ophthalmology Honours ceremony on Wednesday 6th December 2017 at BMA House, London after introducing a raft of initiatives that have improved the planned eye surgery surgical pathway and provided enhanced support for patients.

The dedicated team, who were praised by the judges for demonstrating “enthusiasm across the board” have been meeting every Tuesday since June 2015 to look at where practice could be further improved.

As a result a new blood pressure policy has been introduced, which has reduced local anaesthetic cataract surgery cancellations for high blood pressure to zero since it was first introduced in May 2016.

A number of user-friendly resources for patients have also been developed including a short, four-minute video with simple animated graphics. The video, which is available on DVD or YouTube, provides vital reassurances to patients about what will happen before, during and after surgery.

The availability of detailed guidance for patients with diabetes and a new policy to support them through the process has similarly seen surgical cancellations reduce from zero since it was first introduced in September 2016.

The team also developed thrice-weekly reports providing information on patients who had been admitted to the Trust but had an outpatient appointment or planned eye surgery within the next five days. Between February and October 2017 this enabled the team to send out 176 reminders to the wards to ensure these patients were still able to attend their appointments, with 71 additional slots also being able to be rebooked, saving potential on-the-day cancellations and enabling other patients who were able to attend to have their appointments instead.

In addition the department introduced a new electronic pre-operative assessment questionnaire (ePAQ), which enables patients to self-complete elements of their preoperative assessment, such as their medical history or the medication they are taking, on a dedicated bank of computers. This has been used by around 80 cataract patients, plus a further 11 oculoplastic surgery patients.

Samantha Hardman, Deputy Operations Director for ENT and Ophthalmology at Sheffield Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, said: “I am immensely proud of our team for winning this prestigious national award. Together the team have worked tremendously hard to identify key reasons why potential cancellations in planned eye surgery take place and developed key resources as a result. This has led to some fantastic results, and as well as better supporting patients, this has freed up valuable pre-operative assessment time. I have no doubt they will continue to deliver and further improve the service in the future.”

Caroline Eadson, who works in the Trust’s service improvement team and supported the Ophthalmology team through the Seamless Surgery programme, added: “This is absolutely wonderful news. The Ophthalmology team continue to retain their enthusiasm with improvement work and by introducing incremental changes to the way things are done, some amazing achievements have been made across the whole of the department.”

The Bayer Ophthalmology Honours programme is supported by the Royal National Institute of Blind People (RNIB) and recognises outstanding work being carried out by multi-disciplinary teams in ophthalmology throughout the UK and identifies exceptional initiatives that demonstrate clinical excellence and innovation in the area.

The judges at the ceremony said, “Overall, this was a strong entry that demonstrated enthusiasm and efficiency across the board, and was very replicable with lots of good points for other centres to consider moving forwards. The entry really encompassed the idea of team working, and the judges were impressed by how the team works together at all levels.”