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Meet the team


  • Dr Zac- Varghese
  • Dr Isabella Fantoni
  • Dr Varthani Kirupanandan
  • Yaowalak Price
  • George Scott
  • Janette Hawes
  • Dr Sindhuja Suresh
  • Kelly Wallace Bates
  • Sonia Catchpole
  • Catherine Whitmore
  • Julie Wiggins

What is the positive change that has emerged through new collaborations or partnerships during Covid-19 that your project is going to embed?

During the Covid-19 pandemic, visitors were excluded from wards unless the patient was in the final stages of life. On our ward, where patients had given consent, we called their family every day. This enabled us to provide up dates,  ask families what mattered to them and their loved one, and deliver personalised care.

This vital communication was supported by a Family Liaison Clinician (FLiC). This service was provided by a small team of staff redeployed during the height of Covid-19. The feedback from families who had received this service demonstrated its hugely positive impact.

Post intervention analysis of PALS, Complaints, What Matters To You (WMTY)  themes and staff surveys has provided robust baseline data confirming the need for continued focus on this aspect of communication.

Ensuring that there is consistent and effective communication is as vital as ever with a collaborative MDT required to embed this approach.

What does your project aim to achieve?

This project aims to improve communications between the ward and the patient’s families in order to improve care. We want to ensure that patients who are unable to liaise directly with their family have an equal opportunity to let keep their family informed – particular impact for patients disadvantaged by learning disability, communication impairment and limited access to digital devices. We know that communication with families could be improved in other areas of the Trust. We want to develop a sustainable process for achieving this improvement which can be scaled and spread throughout the Trust.

Our aim is that all patients’ next of kin will be provided with an update on care. We will measure if this improvement leads to improvement in:

a. Patient, family and carer experience

b. Reduced errors and complaints

c. Staff confidence and satisfaction in communication with patient’s families

How will the project be delivered?

The project team was formed as soon as the Family Liaison Clinician service was withdrawn with a passionate determination that effective communication be maintained and mainstreamed through this proactive approach. There is a diverse team of clinical support workers, nurses, discharge team members, end of life nurses, palliative education nurses, ward clerk, junior doctors and consultants supported by a Continuous Quality Improvement Coach.

We want to test change ideas on ward 10BN with staff who are all enthusiastic and committed to this work  before spreading the improvement Trust wide . Includes:

Ensuring families are aware of the how they will be communicated with
Allocate the phone calls to the most appropriate person in the MDT
Allocate protected time to prioritise communication with families
Offer support to patients to communicate directly with their family via supported phone and video calls
Provide bitesize communication in the areas  staff have highlighted of least confidence

How is your project going to share learning?

  • An additional QI coach allocated to this specific project would provide support to the other wards in the Trust with locally owned “Crucial Conversations” projects to test the approach and adapt as necessary  for their own areas.
  • The Trust has several established and emergent L&OD sharing conduits including:

Huddles, Trust rolling half days, Quarterly Patient Carer and Partnership Group Trust and patient carer stories to board. Sharing  qualitative and run chart data to win hearts and minds to embed a culture which places high value on the relationship with both the patient and their family, ENHT Trust website- internal and public facing pages, display boards in main thoroughfares

  • Promotional video
  • Presentation at QI conference events
  • Q community and local QI partner networks
  • Social media platforms

How you can contribute

  • Share your previous experience and learning from similar projects particularly gradual change across an organisation.
  • Share your expertise about sharing the QI improvement story through data.
  • Help us to be objective, ask us questions, challenge us.
  • Help us to share the project journey with your networks. Follow us on twitter @enhtqi and retweet

Plan timeline

1 Oct 2020 PDSA and data collection 1 ward
2 Nov 2020 Share learning, PDSA and data collection 2 wards, 2 patient/family stories
1 Dec 2020 Present at RHD, enter RCP Excellence in patient care awards
1 Feb 2021 PDSA and data collection 3 wards
1 Mar 2021 Q Community funding - recruit project manager
1 Apr 2021 Promotional video, generate excitement, identify new wards for project
2 May 2021 Project begins on new ward , PDSA, data collection
1 Jul 2021 Project begins on new ward- 5 wards involved with project
1 Sep 2021 Project begins on new ward - 6 wards involved with project
3 Oct 2021 Pesent at Trust AGM, Summary for Patient Experience Annual Report
1 Nov 2021 Project begins on new ward, 7 wards involved with project
1 Dec 2021 On going support of 7 wards involved, continued sharing of learning
2 Jan 2022 On going support of wards involved, continued sharing of learning
1 Feb 2022 Summary report of projects, recommendations for sustainability


  1. Hi Pete,

    Thank you for your comments. During the height of Covid I contacted several other acute trusts across the country to find out how they were managing to maintain effective communication with family members. Mostly phone lines and liaison roles were staffed by redeployed staff. As additional staff  have returned to usual roles, we need to make sure we have a process for this to be incorporated into holistic patient care. Our baseline data from staff and patients and their families has helped us to understand the problem more. It has highlighted that behaviour and culture change has a large part to play. We have started small with 1 ward with a team who are really committed to improving communication and want to embed this gradually throughout  the organisation, understanding that staff engagement is key.

  2. Hi Ruth,

    Myself and my colleague Emma Adams (Health Transformation Partnership) are supporting the Health Foundation this year by fostering conversations between Q members and encouraging collaboration. We were Exchange applicants last year, so we’re hoping that our experience will help us to help others, as their ideas take shape.

    I wanted to let you know that I've read through your idea and recognise the importance of it (my recent experience of being in hospital has brought this need into sharp focus!!). I've not come across any other idea that's operating in the space, but will certainly flag up any synergies as I come across them.

    I presume you're working through your project timeline and therefore your funding requirements. I'm looking forward to hearing more as your idea further develops.

    Best of luck,


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