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Ryall: Extra Nursing Care For Thousands Of Patients

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Fuseworks Media
Fuseworks Media
Tony Ryall
Tony Ryall

Over 2,200 nurses are now spending more time caring for patients through a Health productivity initiative that uses Toyota-style "lean thinking".

Nurses around the country are changing the way their wards work so that they can improve the quality of care their patients receive. This means much more face to face care for thousands of New Zealand hospital patients.

"The National Government is strongly committed to expanding this programme after a pilot at Middlemore Hospital. This shows you can get even better service with the same resources," says Health Minister Tony Ryall.

"The average nurse spends only about 31% of his or her time caring for patients. The rest of the time they are paper-shuffling, on computers or running up and down the corridors for supplies. "Now nurses are leading the use of Toyota-style "lean thinking" in hospitals to change the way their wards work and to do what they do best: care for patients.

For example; South Canterbury DHB has doubled direct patient care time in one ward and improved in all three wards involved in the programme. Waikato DHB nurses are spending ten per cent more of their time on patient care with calmer wards and better patient safety.

At Bay of Plenty DHB, Tauranga Hospital Children's ward report 80% of their patient charts are now 100% correct compared to none before they started weekly audits as part of the programme. Hutt Valley DHB's Day Surgery Team has reduced the average time patients spend in its unit by over 10%.

"In the last year, "The Productive Ward: Releasing Time to Care" programme has been rolled out across 62 wards in ten district health boards enabling 2,275 ward nurses and therapists to spend more time directly caring for their patients," says Mr Ryall.

Patients are getting better care, having fewer falls and medicine errors, and are getting home sooner. This means more patients are being treated better with the same resources.

"And nurses are telling me that not only are they giving their patients improved care, they're also happier in their jobs. One nurse says she's got her passion back for nursing due to the programme," says Mr Ryall.

The Productive Ward: Releasing Time to Care programme - originally designed by the NHS in Britain - focuses on letting nurses have more say in the way a ward is run. It means more time for patients, more safety and greater efficiency.

The programme is now being delivered in Auckland, Bay of Plenty, South Canterbury, Waikato, MidCentral, Whanganui, Hutt Valley, Capital and Coast and Wairarapa DHBs.

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