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Breaking the Rules for Better Care Week announced 

24/03/2017   |  Argyll & Bute; North & West Highland; South & Mid Highland; Raigmore 

NHS Highland staff, patients, and visitors are being asked to take part in a ground breaking initiative next week called “Breaking the Rules for Better Care”.

Run by the European arm of the Institute of Healthcare Improvement, the idea behind “Breaking the Rules for Better Care” Week is to let the board’s management know about “silly” or “non-sensical” rules that hinder the delivery of high quality care.

The first-ever “Breaking the Rules for Better Care” Week run by the Health Improvement Alliance Europe (HIAE) will take place in all the board’s care settings across Highland from Monday 27th March to Friday 31st March.

During the week, staff and students will be asked to highlight what rules related to workflow and processes they would like to change - and why - to provide better healthcare for patients.

In addition, patients, friends, families and visitors will also be asked to identify what rules relating to the patient and family experience they would like changed.

Nothing will be considered sacred. If people think the rules ‘just don’t make sense’ or ‘get in the way of patient-centred care’, then the board wants to know - whether they are big ideas or just small little changes.

“Breaking the Rules for Better Care” could mean suggestions about waiting times or visiting hours, when to cancel patient procedures, or even what type of drinks are available in hospital shops. 

By staff, patients and visitors questioning ‘why things are done in certain ways’  - whether because of habit, age old and outdated policies or procedures - the board hopes to sweep away barriers to high quality care.

During the week, people will be encouraged to send their thoughts and suggestions to a dedicated email address:

It is hoped the collective response will prove to be a powerful tool to help promote policy changes that will lead to better care at NHS Highland.
Announcing the initiative, chief executive, Elaine Mead, said:  “We have been invited to participate in “Breaking the Rules for Better Care” Week as one of a number of organisations across Europe who want their staff to help improve the healthcare they provide.”

“The reason that we are participating is because we need, now more than ever, to be able to highlight the well-intentioned rules, habits, policies and procedure that sometimes get in the way of our staff delivering high quality care in a timely way.

“During this week, I am asking our staff to think about the rules that they feel get in the way of them and their teams providing great healthcare. Or rules that compromise the experience of care for both them and our service users.

“Be clear, I don’t want our staff to break the rules just yet. I just want them, and our patients and visitors, to take a few moments to send their thoughts to this email address: We will then collate all of the comments into themes.”

Elaine said that after the week has ended, all the views expressed with be collated and posted on the NHS Highland website.

She added: “The idea is that we will then have rules that we now believe should be broken and will start work immediately on removing them.

“I know that this might be a strange request, but it is an opportunity for our staff – and our patients and visitors - to clearly flag, directly to me, some of the things that they believe hold us back from delivering great healthcare. I look forward to hearing about the rules that they would like me to ‘break or make’ for better care.”

Further information

Mark Scruton 
Communications manager 
01463 704876