Borders General Takes Starring Role On Danish TV

by Heather Peebles

Friday, December 27th, 2013

Danish TV

A unique group of Critical Care Outreach nurse specialists at Borders General Hospital have had their pioneering work to improve patient care recognised – with a starring slot on prime time Danish TV.

The nurse specialists welcomed a team from Denmark’s equivalent of BBC Six O’Clock News who wanted to study their model of the early recognition management and treatment of patients at risk of deterioration in hospital.

One success has seen cardiac arrest calls at Borders General Hospital reduce dramatically from 465 in 2000 to 48 in 2013.

Stimulating Debate

The TV news report was broadcast to millions in Denmark, sparking major debate in the country to encourage greater awareness of the need to follow the success of The Scottish Patient Safety Programme in improving patient care.

The work at the Melrose-based hospital forms part of the Scottish Patient Safety Programme, a ground-breaking initiative lead by Healthcare Improvement Scotland to ensure that every patient in NHS Scotland receives the best possible care.

The Danish TV interest was sparked by Danish consultant anaesthetist Jens Stubager Knudsen who has become a huge supporter of the work at the hospital after meeting specialist nurse Ronnie Dornan, who set up the hospital’s bespoke Critical Care Outreach Service in 2000. Ronnie and Jens met in 2012 while studying for their fellowship on the Scottish Patient Safety Programme

The TV report shows Dr Stubager explaining the successes of the Critical Care Outreach Service and features Ronnie and various other members of his team.

Dedicated Staff

Ronnie said: “The Critical Care Outreach Service provides a team of dedicated specialist nurses who focus on the close monitoring of the medical conditions of both ward and patients recently discharged from intensive care.

“We believe that visibility and accessibility to our specialised team is of the utmost importance.

“Our motto is simple: ‘early recognition and intervention improves outcome’. To identify the signs of deterioration we use an early warning chart closely monitoring blood pressure, heart rate, temperature, respiratory rate and blood results that indicate the signs of infection.

“This way we can act upon any decline in the patients’ condition at the very early stages, providing us with the optimal chance to prevent further deterioration and expedite treatment.

“This method of managing deterioration in patients has proven to be extremely successful as we now have one of the lowest mortality rates in Scotland.

“We know that Jens and his team were impressed with what we are doing in Scotland and they hope to achieve equal success as they develop a similar model in Denmark.”

Outstanding Results

As well as having one of the lowest mortality rates in Scotland, the critical care unit at Borders General Hospital has one of the lowest out of hour’s admissions, length of stay, need for ventilation and need for renal replacement therapy in Scotland.

Dr Stubager, a Consultant at Kolding Hospital in Denmark, said: “My study visit to Borders General Hospital has been truly inspirational.

“The methods of dealing with the deterioration of patients that Ronnie and his team have developed are quite ground breaking and evidently provide outstanding results.

“Since appearing on our national news, the methodology has created huge debate around the whole country and politicians are now looking to take patient safety more seriously.

“We would like to thank the staff at Borders General Hospital for giving us an insight into their work which has now enabled us to begin the process of implementing similar models throughout hospitals in Denmark.”

Healthcare Improvement Scotland was formed in April 2011 as an organisation with the focus and key responsibility to help NHS Scotland and independent healthcare providers deliver high quality, evidence-based, safe, effective and person-centred care; and to scrutinise services to provide public assurance about the quality and safety of that care.

Private: Heather Peebles

Based as a PR in Edinburgh, Heather Peebles is a highly-valued member of the team at Holyrood PR. Her work with the Scottish public relations consultancy sees her advising clients in healthcare, construction, renewables and logistics. As well as delivering numerous successful PR campaigns, she is also experienced in crisis PR and reputation management.

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