My DCHS Blog

A Focus on clinical audit with Rebecca Oakley

It all started at the Staff Forum earlier this year. Sitting in the visitors’ gallery listening to the discussions on how we ensure clinicians don’t spend unnecessary time completing data collection exercises; I heard the lady in front of me speak to the forum passionately about the changes that are taking place to clinical audits.

The lady in front of me turned out to be clinical effectiveness lead, Lisa Barrett and I was so struck by the energy and drive she was speaking with; that (if I am totally honest) I wouldn’t expect it to make me sit up and listen. So, I thought I would ask Lisa if I could spend a bit of time with her and the team to find out more about what they are working on.

Lisa joined the clinical effectiveness team in August 2014 as the clinical effectiveness lead. Her NHS career started after qualifying as a physiotherapist in 1998 from Southampton University and she then went on to work as a clinical specialist in neurology working in Birmingham and Chelmsford, Essex. The pull of a rural lifestyle meant that following the birth of her son in 2012 and daughter in 2013, they decided to leave Chelmsford and head to the Peak District.

Lisa recalls “I was attracted to the job following a conversation with Mary Heritage who explained her vision for the post of clinical effectiveness lead. I am passionate about patient care and when I was able to see that this post was more than just about audit I was inspired to apply. With my daughter just a few months old in the car, and parents to babysit, I came up to Babington to attend the interview...”and in 2014 Lisa was appointed to the post.

The passion for patient care that Lisa talked about at interview is visible in the way she works with the team, enabling everyone to showcase their expertise with a clearly established strong vision on what they want to achieve and how they intend to get there. Lisa explained one of the early changes they have made “we stopped focusing on the dreaded word AUDIT, in order for people to engage in reviewing their practice and identifying small ways to make improvements. Audit as a method is very useful and audit has been central in our work but it was also a barrier and I hope this is no longer the case.” Changing the language has helped in the understanding that clinical effectiveness is everyone’s business. “If you care about delivering great patient care then you will be doing aspects of clinical effectiveness even if you don’t realise it.”

The team have taken brave steps in making big changes to clinical audit and that has meant being willing guinea pigs, willing to listen to and try each other’s ideas, willing to always try something new and to share feedback. Successes are reviewed at the end of each year and the achievements for the next 12 months are set. It is this kind of desire that led to a new role being secured and probably the most interesting job title to arrive in DCHS, ‘data ninja’!! (Ok so it was actually advertised as data analyst in case anyone is thinking they missed that on the vacancy bulletin!).

The annual clinical effectiveness showcase has become a great event and a fantastic opportunity for clinical staff to share their work and most importantly how they have improved patient care as a result of a variety of clinical effectiveness projects. (If you haven’t been yet take note of the date for 2017 below!).