• Led by Imperial College Healthcare NHS Trust, partnered by Imperial College.
  • Project carried out in three intensive care units at the NHS acute hospital trust in London.
  • Will enable better clinical team planning and anticipation of workforce problems, and therefore improve patient safety and quality of care.
  • Developed an evidence-based, early warning workforce planning tool (IPlan) that enables teams to identify staffing level issues that coincide with infection and other patient safety events.

Being unable to anticipate and respond to workforce problems and requirements can put patient care at risk. However, due to disjointed corporate and clinical data, clinical teams do not often have the right information in order to understand how staffing changes may influence variations in quality and safety of care on their intensive care unit (ICU).

To address this, a team at Imperial College Healthcare NHS Trust in London have developed an integrated and interactive tool for clinical teams, so that staff are alerted to potential risks to patient care due to workforce problems.

By improving clinical teams’ access to, and use of, effective and integrated workforce and clinical information, workforce problems– for example, due to seasonality, out-of-hours staffing and varying patient acuity – can be anticipated and responded to, thereby improving patient safety, patient experience and clinical team efficiency.

The project team found that workforce planning in the trust was completed by professional groups in silos, with no multidisciplinary elements. This meant that it was difficult to see the relationship between the multidisciplinary workforce and other factors.

The project is still in the pilot phase and so it is not possible to assess the full impact as yet. However, it is clear that the initiative has led to an improved understanding among staff of the relationship between safety and staffing. The project has also enabled clinical and corporate teams to discuss their data, including issues around access, timeliness, accuracy, efficacy and reliability.

Contact details

For further information about the project, please email Eleanor Murray, Head of Programme Management at Imperial College Healthcare NHS Trust.

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