The League of Friends of
Bexhill Hospital -
Working for the good of
Local patients since 1952
£ 160,000 for Crital care unit at the Conquest
HOW would you feel if it was a member of your family…?
That's the question our Chairman, Stuart Earl, put to members of the League's general committee as they debated whether to respond to a request for equipment costing £130,000. The medical team at the critical care unit at the Conquest Hospital needed a sophisticated computerised patient information system. The system would ensure that the condition of most seriously ill patients was constantly monitored and that medical staff would have each patient's entire case history on screen on demand. The chairman's point struck home with everyone. The committee voted in favour.
That was 18 months ago. Production of the system was delayed when floods in Thailand interrupted the supply of key components. Installing the complex system and ensuring that it was working correctly took further time.
But on Friday, July 20th League officers and committee members were the guests of delighted senior staff at the unit where the visitors were able to see the system in operation. A high proportion of the patients treated at the Conquest critical care unit are from Bexhill. On behalf of the medical team, Critical Care Intensivist Dr Kate Murray explained how each of the unit's 11 beds now has its own computer. The keypads and large flat-screen monitors are mounted on wheeled pedestal trolleys.
Intensive care is a “data-rich” environment, Dr Murray explained. Patients needed to be monitored constantly for heart and lung and a wide range of other functions. Previously, this had to be recorded on paper; a labour-intensive procedure which took up a lot of the nursing staff's time. Now, the data was recorded automatically and available on-screen together with x-ray and test results. It meant that consultants had all the information they required about the patient's condition without the need to collate paper reports from a variety of hospital departments.
“It has made a great difference for the doctors to have the data available at the right time,” said Dr Murray. Provision of the Conquest system by the Bexhill League of Friends has been matched by the gift of similar equipment for the District General Hospital by their Eastbourne counterparts. The two systems are inter-linked by means of five computer servers across the two sites, allowing the transfer of key data and creating a “virtual ward-round.” Dr Murray said introduction of the clinical information system meant that the compilation of patient data was now standardised.It meant that medical staff now had a far better overview of each patient's condition, hour by hour, day by day. Dr Murray told the Bexhill League representatives: “It is really a fabulous tool, enabling us to be aware of what's going on and improving.” The league chairman said he wished it were possible for all the charity's supporters to be able to see what their money had provided and how wisely it had been invested. Dr Murray was accompanied by Tim Leakey, medical practitioner in theatres; Fiona Stedman critical care educator; Pauline Simes, head of nursing for critical care; project manager Gemma Lawrence; project leads Christa Wood and Karl Wilkinson and lead ITU nurse Simon Speed. In addition to the Chairman, the Bexhill League was represented by Treasurer Robin Barnett, Secretary Ann Dowling, President John Dowling, Vice President Peter Mitchell-Davis, Webmaster and Deputy Treasurer Chris Ashford, Social Secretary Harriet Chapman and St Stephen's Secretary Audrey Kerr.
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