Volunteers supporting improvements in Lincolnshire’s hospitals

Volunteers are helping to shape improvements to services across Lincolnshire’s hospitals as part of a new patient group.

Posted on in Improvements   News & Events

The Patient Improvement Advisory Group meets every six weeks to give United Lincolnshire Hospitals NHS Trust (ULHT) a dedicated forum to test and discuss improvement ideas.

The group includes nine patient volunteers offering their time, knowledge and lived experiences, working alongside ULHT’s clinical and non-clinical staff.

Sameedha Rich-Mahadkar, Director of Improvement and Integration at ULHT, said: “We are very grateful to those who are volunteering their time to support this initiative and we are excited to see how our discussions and projects will develop as we move forward. The group offers us the chance to ensure the voice of our patients can further guide the improvement ideas and projects we have at an earlier opportunity.

“Projects are also being supported by colleagues using tried and tested improvement methodology to make sure our improvements are sustainable for the future.”

Some of the first projects and ideas to have been discussed by the group include the creation of a Carers Network for ULHT staff members, the development of a children’s community epilepsy service, improvements to reduce waiting times for patients in need of radiotherapy, and the development of an activity dashboard for children’s community services to better understand their quality and outcomes.

Mark Jakeman, from Grantham, became involved as a patient volunteer with ULHT after seeing an article in the news inviting the public to join the patient panel.

Mark wanted to use his experience as a business manager and operator, and NHS service user, to support the NHS locally. He said: “I enjoy the lively and professional discussions with a group of people from all backgrounds who are committed to enabling the NHS to constantly improve. There is no sense of complacency, just a constant and urgent drive for excellence. It is inspiring.”

A manager for two international companies and former nurse, Dorothy Moore, from Woodhall Spa, felt she had valuable knowledge and skills that she could share to support local services through volunteering.

Dorothy said: “This is an opportunity to share the knowledge I have gained as a manager and former nurse and other experiences in my life and put them to good use, while being with like-minded individuals. When I first signed up as a volunteer, I thought I would see how it goes, but soon realised there were so many areas I knew I could support.”

Dorothy is particularly interested in supporting the Trust in areas relating to patient safety.

She added: “It’s fascinating to see the incredible effort being made to make improvements within the Trust.”

Retired veteran Ernie Thompson brings more than 20 years’ experience of working in the NHS to his volunteering role.

Ernie, from Lincoln, felt he could use his lived experiences to help review important documents and processes, while supporting innovation in the modern NHS.

He said: “After working in a high profile role within the NHS for 20 years, I wanted to give something back to my local Trust and help make change happen, whilst having a voice of lived experiences.”

Ernie added: “I realise how important the volunteering role is within ULHT and that my experiences are valued.”

In 2020, ULHT launched a five-year Integrated Improvement Plan to provide a strategic plan to help the Trust move forward, addressing some urgent quality and safety priorities, while supporting ambitions to move to a more comprehensive and planned approach for the future.

In 2022/23, the plan was refreshed to reflect the changed operational environment from the COVID-19 pandemic.

In June 2023, ULHT’s Trust Board approved the Integrated Improvement Plan priorities for 2023/24. Read more about the Trust’s achievements over the last year and the priorities ahead on ULHT’s website.