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Poorly organised clinical equipment can waste significant amounts of time otherwise available for direct patient care. As a group of foundation year one doctors, we identified the organisation of clinical equipment across surgical wards at North Bristol NHS Trust to be poor with stocks often low and items frequently difficult to locate.

Time-motion studies (n=80) were confirmatory demonstrating that the mean time to collect equipment necessary for venepuncture, cannulation, arterial blood gases, or blood cultures ranged from 121 to 174 seconds between different areas. By applying a plan-do-study-act (PDSA) methodology, surveying peers as well as working with nursing staff and senior managers, we were able to purchase and implement clinical equipment trolleys on 10 surgical wards across the trust to reduce the time-taken to locate clinical equipment to between 38 to 45 seconds (p=0.01). We feel the key factors for the success of our initiative were strong multidisciplinary engagement and a simple uniform idea. Clinical equipment trolleys organised in a standardised manner have now been rolled out hospital-wide in the new Southmead Hospital Brunel building.

Full Text


Ward, J., Spencer, R., Soo, E. and Finucane, K. (2015) Standardising the organisation of clinical equipment on surgical wards at North Bristol NHS Trust: a quality improvement initiative. BMJ Quality Improvement Reports. 4(1), p1-4.

DOI: 10.1136/bmjquality.u208308.w3441.

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