Fiona Springall is the first Children and Young People’s Learning Disabilities Specialist Nurse in the East of England. And she leads one of two hospital teams who have just been announced as finalists in the Health Service Journal Awards
As a Children and Young People’s Learning Disability and Autism Specialist Nurse at the Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital, Fiona Springall receives referrals for around 350 new children each year. And she leads one of two teams at the hospital – the other being the ‘incredibly busy’ Specialist Palliative Care Team – who are finalists in the prestigious Health Service Journal (HSJ) Patient Safety Awards 2020. The children’s learning disability and autism service and the palliative care service have both made the top seven rankings in the country – out of 800 entries.
Fiona was appointed two years ago to lead the improvement of effective, accessible quality care delivery for children and young people with learning disabilities and/or autistic people, working across the Trust and liaising closely with schools, family advocacy groups, other hospitals and community services.
The aim of her role is to support the delivery of equitable healthcare, by providing specialise advice, co-ordinating care, supporting staff understanding and improving the support to families through better processes and education.
The service provides bespoke care planning for children and their families though outpatient appointments, surgery and emergency admissions. A rapid risk assessment tool has also been rolled out for emergency and elective areas so that appropriate adjustments can be put in place to improve patient safety.
The first Children and Young People’s Learning Disabilities Specialist Nurse in the East of England, says: ‘I am thrilled to be a finalist for this quality improvement initiative and it is wonderful to have the role of learning disability nurse at the forefront to help to raise the profile of this role and service. We are very lucky to have three learning disability nurses at NNUH to support the trust to provide safe and high-quality care.’
The Specialist Palliative Care Team, which made progress in its CQC rating which went from ‘requires improvement’ to ‘outstanding’ in 18 months, is preparing to work with NHS England on a six-month pilot scheme to further integrate palliative care in Norfolk.
It will be working with other hospitals, community services and hospices to share best practice and begin to work together as one system to benefit patient care and experience.
Our team has been incredibly busy throughout the pandemic, supporting patients at the end of life, liaising with their families…
Julie NobleLead Nurse for Specialist Palliative Care Team
Lead Nurse Julie Noble, says: ‘Our team has been incredibly busy throughout the pandemic, supporting patients at the end of life, liaising with their families – and supporting our staff through this difficult time. We want to see the very best standards for our palliative care service and be able to fulfil the wishes of our patients and their families.’
Both of our finalists have shown exemplary care for vulnerable patients and demonstrated outstanding collaborative skills…
Professor Nancy FontaineChief Nurse at NNUH
Professor Nancy Fontaine, Chief Nurse at NNUH, adds: ‘Both of our finalists have shown exemplary care for vulnerable patients and demonstrated outstanding collaborative skills, helping to join up the services which support patients and their families.’