TOP health professionals visited the North East as part of an international exchange project to boost patient care.
Iris Leite, a finance manager at Hospital de Magalhaes Lemos in Porto, Portugal, and Kaisa Haatainen, a patient safety manager at Kuopio University Hospital in Finland, spent three weeks with County Durham NHS Foundation Trust.
The Hope International Exchange Programme, which included a meeting in Lumley Castle Hotel, Chester-le-Street, aims to promote improvements in health and high standards of hospital care, as well as “foster efficiency with humanity”.
Kaisa, who also blogged about her visit, said: “The main thing I have found has been how concentrated the hospitals here are on quality and patient safety, and how the patient experience is central to everyone’s work.”
The programme, which has been running for more than 40 years, involves 160 healthcare personnel from across Europe, with 16 visiting the UK.
Iris said: “I think I have learned so much from this visit and through working so closely with people across the trust. I have learnt about how the hospitals here work, how they plan, monitor and report. I want to go home and look at how we can improve things and do things better.”
The pair will now meet in London with the other delegates, ahead of a conference at The Hague, where they will present their findings and discuss their experiences.
Emma Shipley, associate director of HR and Organisation Development at the trust, said: “Iris and Kaisa have been working with people from across the trust, in corporate services, clinical, front-line staff, as well as our directors, so it has been really beneficial for them, as well as us.
“It was an opportunity for us to learn from them, to hear about how other countries approach patient safety and to see what we could take from that to improve the way we provide services.”