The scheme was one of eight short-listed for the
section of the Nursing
Times and Health Service Journal National Patient Safety Awards 2011, held last night at the Hilton Hotel in
KGH’s project gained second place and was Highly Commended in the category.
Lynn won the category for developing a new way of making
KGH was represented at the
event by Chartered Scientist Paula Lilburn – who developed the idea, Newborn
Screening Co-ordinator Alison Campbell, who led on implementing it, and IT
programme manager Bhazna Gosai.
Paula said: “It was a fantastic evening attended by
literally hundreds of NHS staff from across the country.
“In these difficult times it was amazing to see how
hard people across the country were working to come up with innovative ways of
improving patient safety.
“We were really pleased to have done so well.”
In April 2010 KGH was one of the first hospitals in
the country to introduce bar-coded wrist/ankle bands combined with a bar-coded
heel prick testing label to improve safety in the maternity department.
The KGH system was developed by Paula Lilburn with
the help of KGH Newborn Screening Co-ordinator, Alison Campbell and software/bar
code/laser printing companies FDI, GS1 and LaserBand – who also attended the
The wrist/ankle bands are waterproof and printed
and include the baby’s surname and forename, unique NHS number, date of birth,
sex, and mother’s name. They also have a bar code which also contains all of
Paula said: “This in itself improves safety because
it can’t smudge or become illegible and it means the baby’s details can easily
be found on the hospital’s computer systems.
“But at the same time the wrist/ankle label is printed
another set of bar-coded labels are also printed for use in standard heel prick
blood tests which are done for every baby five days after they are born.
“A problem with these tests would be that they were
done by community midwives and then sent into a regional laboratory with a
“If there was a single smudge or difficult to read
word the form could be sent back and the baby would have to have the heel prick
“This way bar-coded stickers with all of the
relevant information about the baby are included next to the points on the
screening card where the blood spots are sealed.
“This means there can be no spelling mistakes or
misunderstandings and the laboratory can simply scan the bar codes as it takes
in the samples with less chance of error or confusion and in a faster and safer
The aim of the Patient Safety Awards 2011 is to celebrate
and highlight good practice in the NHS around patient safety and encourage
other hospitals and organisations to take on new ways of working.
After receiving national – and international –
publicity about its new system in April 2010 KGH received about 15 requests
from other healthcare organisations asking about its system – and at least four
are in the process of adopting it.
KGH has gone on to spread to bar coded wrist labels
to all of its inpatients and now fits some 2,700 of them a month.