Back to all news

Hinchingbrooke endoscopy– a positive approach to COVID-19 and how £64000 can make a change
27 July 2020

In these unexpected, unprecedented times due to COVID-19, Hinchingbrooke have showed how you can rise above challenges with teamwork and a positive perspective to ensure patients are put first. Hinchingbrooke have used the current climate to their advantage and led to a complete restructure of their endoscopy unit.

One of the biggest challenges Hinchingbrooke faced before COVID-19 was the flow of patients coming into the hospital and unit. The hospital had made some pathway changes for arriving patients, and the signage had not been updated so was unclear and caused misdirection and confusion.  The trust also felt having a separate admission and discharge area with a clear and distinguish area dedicated to endoscopy would eliminate the cause of confusion. In addition, this allowed some patients to be discharged straight from procedure room which ensured a better patient journey and process. 


 ‘We have used COVID-19 to our advantage’


How was all this possible?
This was all made possible with the investment of £64000. Hinchingbrooke endoscopy unit, part of the North West Anglia Foundation Trust managed to secure an investment from capital funds to make changes to reception areas, staff area, waiting areas, decoration, storage and signage. The team were adamant their successes from the new change were due to the good working relationship formed with Kier, their PFI partner and the Day Unit team. Even during the COVID-19 period, Kier aided in the planning of the new patient flow, reception and waiting areas and safe and effective storage within rooms.  This work also supported the overall aims to have a standardised room with the Trusts other site at Peterborough.


‘By creating the new flow, we managed to create our own identity – we can control the patient experience from start to finish’


With a pause on endoscopy activity, the endoscopy service have not been able to assess patient feedback.  The system of the new patient flow cannot be utilized to its full effect yet due to the reductions in areas patients can go to and from.  

The road to these changes initially started with some stumbling blocks with the day unit who share the space with the endoscopy team. The team found compromise and negotiation to be their best resolution. As there were no negative impact on the day unit’s patient flow, these changes led to an introduction of a communal space for all staff which has been a great impact on moral. In addition, the constant inclusion of the day unit team meant changes could occur more organically. 

The environment in an endoscopy unit is one of the biggest barriers to achieving accreditation. The investment and planned proactive processes have contributed greatly to the success. The team have also been successful in acquiring the 2.3-million-pound investment needed to standardise clinical equipment and practices across both NWAnglia FT endoscopy sites at Hinchingbrooke and Peterborough. This also means that implementing an on-call system across sites will be simplified in the future for training purposes as the equipment is the same. Standardising practice and continuous communication along both sites has been a key theme.

A surprising turn of events arising from these changes was a positive boost in staff morale.  This change has allowed for creating a dedicated space for staff members, where they could eat and rest. A simple notion which made a great difference.


Looking forward to the future
Hinchingbrooke now have the unique experience of looking forward to life after COVID-19. There is uncertainty about what the ‘new norm’ will be. An impact of COVID-19 may be a change in the process of pre assessment. This pandemic has led to the possibility of using telephone pre assessment as the primary first step and reducing initial interactions with patients. Furthermore, to reduce the footfall into the hospital, the hospital pharmacy is now couriering prescriptions to patients. This is a positive development which could prove highly effective in the future. Looking forward, prescriptions could be dispensed through community pharmacies – having electronic links between local pharmacies will provide another level of accessibility for patients. 

The focus for life after COVID-19 is preventing an unnecessary flow of patients to maintain social distancing measures and ensuring safety for everyone.


‘COVID-19 highlighted areas we previously struggled to achieve, however, we are exploring these areas naturally now’

Top tips to make a change in your service:
1. Effective communication is key
2. Getting your quick wins early – what you can do, DO!
3. Don’t take your feet off the pedal, keep going!
4. Having the right people look at right thing
5. Support through the whole process due to shared goal of achieving JAG accreditation



Please read carefully and take any action requested - this message will not be shown the next time you log in