• Run by University College London Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, in partnership with the Clinical Operational Research Unit at University College of London.
  • Impacting inpatient wards across the trust’s nine sites.
  • Aimed to simplify ward sisters’ interactions with corporate and administrative functions, and making them more efficient and effective.
  • Developed a series of initiatives to streamline processes.

The ward sisters at UCLH are the highest profile staff group for patients, with the most direct influence on quality of care. They play a vital role in the delivery of clinical excellence and positive patient experience.

At University College London Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust (UCLH), corporate and administrative processes have been structured to support ward sisters in this role. However, despite significant efforts to streamline processes, these duties still take up a significant proportion of their time at work.

The Liberating sister to lead project looked to significantly reduce the time spent on administrative processes for ward sisters, and thereby improve quality of care. To facilitate and support this, the project team set up a short-term concierge service. This was a service desk that took calls on behalf of the ward sisters, then liaised with corporate services to resolve the issues. The service enabled the project team to identify duplication and complexity.

Analysis of over 800 issues that the concierge service supported over 18 months indicated that they could be attributed to one of six areas: corporate overlap, complex processes, customer service, communication, culture and commercial contracts. The next step was to identify and coordinate specific sustainable improvement interventions for each of these areas.

The project has helped to highlight the complexity of the role of the ward sisters, and has revealed the need for a strategic approach to issues, because they cross departmental boundaries.