Focus on patients earns Oban physician top award

Consultant physician Gordon Caldwell, third from left, and the team responsible for bringing ward rounds into the 21st century.

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A pioneering Oban doctor is part of a wider team that won the Patients Award at the International Forum on Quality and Safety in Healthcare in Gothenburg last week.

Gordon Caldwell, a Consultant Physician at Lorn and Islands Hospital began work on improving ward rounds while working at Worthing Hospital in 2009. And at last week’s awards he and his team were rewarded for their role in ‘bringing ward rounds into the 21st century using an interdisciplinary inpatient review workshop’.

The Forum is run by the Institute for Healthcare Improvement (IHI) in Boston MA and by the British Medical Journal and was attended by over 2000 delegates from around the world.

‘The award is a great validation of the importance our team’s work, and we are especially delighted because of the patient focus,’ said Mr Caldwell.

‘At that time in Worthing my team wanted to make ward rounds reliable and safe. We wanted to deliver patient centred care, correct diagnosis, correct treatment at the correct time and in the correct ward while maintaining the patient’s Right to No Avoidable Harm and Better Next Time (Continuous Quality Improvement and Training).

‘We developed the first ward round checklist and developed a new ward round trolley and new patient IT.’

Mr Caldwell involved Royal College of Physicians (RCP) of London and Royal College of Nursing (RCN) and in 2010 published recommendations for best practice in ward rounds.

These were updated last year led by Dr John Dean in Bolton. Meanwhile in 2021 NHS England Emergency Care Improvement Team ran a programme in 30 English Hospitals to improve ward rounds with Mr Caldwell contributing to Webinars.

Mr Caldwell moved to Oban in 2018 and brought his experience with him.

He added: ‘A great strength in Oban is that nurses work closely with doctors on ward rounds. In Worthing before I left there was a nurse present with the patient for just 20 per cent of reviews, in Oban it is 98 per cent resulting in more thorough and swifter reviews.’

The work of Mr Caldwell and the team has been commended by Dr Don Berwick and Maureen Bisognano, both of the IHI, as well as by Sir Prof Chris Ham of the King’s Fund.

The team itself has expanded over the years since the first collaboration of the RCP London and the RCN. It is now an International Team with Valdemar Erling in Sweden and Liam Chadwick bringing expertise from the USA and Australia. Lynne Quinney is the patient representative and maintains the patient focus.

A workshop was attended by over 150 delegates who obviously appreciated the session so much that the team were awarded the prize last week.

‘We hope that with this accolade and affirmation we can continue to influence hospital teams around the world to deliver clinical care with intelligent kindness,’ added Mr Caldwell.

Photograph: Consultant physician Gordon Caldwell, third from left, and the team responsible for bringing ward rounds into the 21st century. NO_T26_ObanyPhysicianAward_DrGordonCaldwell