GIRFT: improving healthcare delivery across the NHS

GIRFT: improving healthcare delivery across the NHS

Getting It Right First Time (GIRFT) is a national healthcare programme designed to regularly improve the delivery of patient care through comprehensive reviews of current services providing data-driven evidence that can implement change.

Through GIRFT, senior clinicians across various care pathways can directly review current treatment plans to recognise areas that are providing successful and efficient care and identify those that could be improved. The programme also considers how current practices can be improved for the NHS providing care to patients.

GIFRT in stroke

The GIRFT national report for stroke investigated 107 stroke units across England – each of which manages an average of 650 acute stroke spells per year. GIRFT identified a total of 29 recommendations for improving acute stroke treatment based on the most comprehensive specialty data set that was assembled.

These recommendations, authored by GIRFT clinical lead Dr David Hargroves and senior clinical advisor Dr Deb Lowe, consider all elements of stroke care, including improving access to services that reduce complications following stroke, such as venous thromboembolism (VTE). Setting out a formal and measurable blueprint for stroke care is helping NHS units improve patient outcomes such as reducing the chance of life-changing condition among stroke patients.

Thrombosis UK and GIRFT

In collaboration with Thrombosis UK, GIRFT ran a VTE survey between 2019 and 2020 to examine hospital acquired VTE (HA VTE) in 96 trusts across the UK. Using GIRFT’s established methodology, clinicians were able to gather and analyse data on the rates of HA VTE and provide recommendations to improve prevention, save healthcare costs, and enhance patient outcomes.

The VTE survey has enabled the first in-depth analysis of HA VTE which has identified widespread challenges, highlighted higher risk areas, as well as informed local and national training needs at various levels. This is an important step towards greater prevention of avoidable thrombotic events.

GIRFT in orthopaedic surgery

GIRFT has published two reports on orthopaedic surgery – the first in 2015 reviewed more than 140 providers across more than 200 hospital sites, highlighting areas of excellence and others where treatment could be improved. The 2020 follow-up document indicated that significant progress had been made, including reductions in surgical complications, fewer rates of hip revision surgery, length of stay and infection. This has helped reduce length of stay for hip and knee operations, freeing up 50,000 beds annually.

Building a better healthcare system for all

Implementing change in healthcare systems takes time. With GIRFT, hospitals and clinics around the country have the chance to regularly improve current clinical practice, train staff and save healthcare costs. Senior clinicians have a platform to identify gaps across the system and ultimately drive change within their care pathways on a holistic level.

Innovation in care pathways will enhance this further. As new medical devices are introduced into care pathways, future GIRFT reports will invariably consider how technology can contribute to improved patient outcomes and saved resources and funds.

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