Patient First goes global

Monday October 29, 2018

Consultants from Southern Africa have become the first doctors to benefit from a new clinical leadership scheme established by the trust to share our learning and experience with healthcare colleagues from overseas.

The Western Sussex Hospitals’ Leadership Fellowship is thought to be the first of its kind in the country and is proving popular with the first visitors, from Zambia, who are spending four weeks with the trust.

Consultant anaesthetist, Dr Naomi Shamambo said the trust’s hospitality is “something I will never forget”, adding: “Every day has had highlights that I will take home with me, but the main one for me is the concept of Patient First.”

In their first three weeks, the visiting doctors have received yellow-belt lean training, attended the staff conference on Patient Experience and have shadowed the trust’s consultants to find out more about clinical leadership and how the hospitals are managed. The programme also included visits to other trusts and speciality events.

Consultant anaesthetist, Dr Collins Chakana, said: “It has been really enlightening. I have learned a lot about the structure of how hospitals are run, including Theatres and A&E, which is extremely beneficial.”

For trust consultant anaesthetist, Dr Richard Venn, who regularly volunteers in Tanzania, this was the whole point of establishing the Leadership Fellowship.

He explained that newly-qualified consultants in many African countries are immediately expected to manage whole departments, teach 50 students and all their other staff, without receiving any non-clinical training.

So he and his colleagues were determined to set up a new Leadership Fellowship, to enable our clinical leaders to share their knowledge and experience more widely.

Dr Venn said: “Western Sussex is a centre of excellence – we are always having UK visitors so why don’t we welcome visitors from other countries as well?

“This is the first time we have done something like this and we are the first trust to do this. What is particularly unique at Western Sussex is the trust-wide cultural commitment to continuous improvement.”

Dr Shamambo said: “Here you can see that the results of continuous improvement have been tremendous and that is something I can take back with me to Zambia, and really help my colleagues.”

Dr Chakana added, “What has struck me is how everyone is really pushing Patient First and how engaged and together everyone is. To me, that is something that I will take back to Zambia.”

Our hierarchy, or lack of it, at Western Sussex has also been very noticeable to the doctors.

Dr Shamambo reflected on how “the management team involves everyone in what they are doing”. She said: “There is no ‘higher up’ it seems, everyone is treated equal and they all look at what continuous improvement projects they can do together.”

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