Alcohol Liaison Team Leader, Leicester
We sat down with Simba at the altstrat headquarters for a coffee and a chat. We started talking about his experiences of his Master's degree and the altstrat MSc in Leadership programme.
He spoke very positively about the programme in general. Simba highlighted how well the modules interrelated and gave him the tools to successfully lead change and people in clinical practice. When asked which modules he enjoyed the most, he named the ‘Innovation and Creativity’ component, a popular choice. The module enables participants to facilitate a real project of change and create a culture of creativity, innovation and learning for teams and whole organisations.
We asked Simba how the course benefitted him on a personal level. He said he had gained a sense of personal awareness in terms of how his actions affect others and why people react to change in certain ways. He explained he is now able to solve more problems and motivate people more effectively by looking at the big picture. Simba said he appreciated learning about tools such as brainstorming, mind mapping and stakeholder analysis in greater depth and that he could see their true value in practice. He said he continues to use these creative and problem solving tools every day.
A problem Simba had attempted to tackle during the programme was the tight four-hour target set in the emergency department for assessment, treatment, admittance or discharge. During the course he was able to look at the processes and outputs that delay discharge. To find a solution for meeting the target, he explored the possibility of providing ‘To Take Out’ medications and discharge letters for patients who meet the criteria. His vision, if put into practice, will improve the fluency of emergency services and contribute significantly towards meeting targets in Leicester’s university hospitals.
'Not just a clinician anymore'
With some of the skills learned during the course, Simba explored the possibility of providing a seven-day service, however initially he came across funding problems for the extended hours. At the same time, the Alcohol Liaison Team was involved in the ‘Making Every Contact Count’ (MECC) CQUIN. They were also responsible for training frontline workers and engaging with the service users. MECC focuses on improving the lifestyles of patients through opportunistic support related to smoking, exercise, dietary intake and alcohol.
The CQUIN payment framework means commissioners can reward excellence, by matching a proportion of English healthcare providers' income to local quality improvement goals. As the trust was able to meet the targets set in the MECC CQUIN, it was rewarded financially. During the duration of the programme Simba applied for funding for a database so the Alcohol Liaison Team could capture data on spread sheets. This has enabled the team to free up valuable time.
Simba was also able to apply for some capital from the CQUIN to secure six months’ funding for a seven-day service. He is now looking to secure permanent funding as the team has substantially increased their referrals, with the weekend team making up 25 per cent of them.
This case study demonstrates the direct link between the skills Simba developed through the altstrat (MSc) in Leadership programme and how these benefits have translated into service improvements, enhanced patient experience as well as personal development.