Continuous Improvement Award

The Continuous Improvement category looks for projects which are leading edge and display innovation at all levels in the organisation.

The Regional Neonatal Intensive Care Unit in the Royal Maternity Hospital provides a regional service for Northern Ireland caring for over 500 admissions a year including extreme preterm babies as well as complex babies with cardiac and surgical problems. The Unit is benchmarked against 900 neonatal units around the world through an organisation called the Vermont Oxford Network.

In 2009-10 there was a concern about high levels of Coagulase negative staphylococcus in the smallest babies. This organism can cause significant short and long-term problems for these vulnerable patients.

A multidisciplinary group, with membership from across the Trust, was set up in December 2010. The group meets monthly and is called CSI (Clearing Serious Infection). Each month it monitors the infection level and coordinates the delivery of a quality improvement program with the aim of reducing infection in babies.

There has been a sustained improvement in reducing neonatal nosocomial infection since the setting up of the CSI group.

  • The commonest infection (CoNs) is down by 82% from 2009. 
  • The number of bacteraemias is down by 41% from 2011. 
  • The CLABSI rate has fallen by 37% from 2011.

Not only is there evidence of improvement accumulating, but an encouraging outcome of this project has been the change in unit culture. Infection is no longer seen as an inevitable consequence for these vulnerable babies.

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Pictured are the winners of the Continuous Improvement category ‘Clearing Serious Infection in the Neonatal Intensive Care’. The category identifies projects that are leading edge and display innovation.