Portsmouth Hospitals NHS Trust
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Admin & Clerical

Dawne Rice - Health Records Service Manager

What department looks after 1.6 million patient records and brings in a Trust income of £70,000 a year? The medical records department of course! What else don’t you know about it?

Like all NHS Trusts, here at Portsmouth Hospitals we keep accurate and up to date information about our patients and their treatments. This meansPHT clinicians have the information they require in order to give our patients the best possible treatment. The medical records library holds more than 1.6 million patient records and hosts a dedicated and loyal team of 85, providing approximately 10,500 requests a week for patient attendances, both planned and emergency admissions.

The department provides a crucial service to the Trust, which involves the distribution, storage, security and destruction of medical records in accordance with Department of Health guidelines.

Medical records moved to a purpose-built unit three miles from QA Hospital over 6 years ago, and today I’m at the premises meeting with Health Records Service Manager, Dawne Rice.

Dawne started her health records career as a PA to the operational manager of outpatients’ and health records back in 2002. A team supervisor was off sick so Dawne was asked to fill in temporarily, a position that quickly grew to more responsibility and now sees her manage more than 80 staff at their 24,470 sq ft premises, a building in which she refers to as ‘her baby.’

‘I’m very precious about our unit. I was part of a team that coordinated the relocation and we were very lucky to not only have new premises, but for the first time in health records history, new furniture - so if any one scratches or damages anything I get very annoyed,’ laughs Dawne.

The unit operates from 7am to 8pm, seven-days a week and has a number of teams, each with their own responsibilities.

‘We have a team that registers patients on PAS and deals with duplicate records, another that retrieves the notes for inpatient and outpatient episodes of which 38 per cent are passed to the clinic prep team to prepare the notes for clinicians. Once the notes arrive at QA the health records are then wheeled around the hospital to the various departments by a team of seven health record porters,’ says Dawne.

‘This of course means that all the notes that are sent out, eventually come back to us and are tracked and re-filed back onto the shelves by the filing team within 24 hours of receipt.’

Dawne says the department’s retrieval rate for 2015/2016 averaged at 99.95 per cent, a testament to the accuracy of the filing team.

The Department of Health govern the length of time that records should be kept for, and updated legislation came into force February this year which says the retention period now depends on the treatment type the patient has had. ‘If a patient has cancer their records must be kept for 30 years,’ says Dawne. ‘If they have a knee replacement then we now have to keep their file for 20 years.’

The department are also responsible for the release of copies of medical records to patients, solicitors, police, social services and other outside bodies under the Access to Medical Records Act 1990. ‘That service brings the Trust an income of approx £70,000 each year, and we get approximately 350 requests a month which is mainly solicitors working on no win no fee cases.’

If we are forever filing paper-based copies of patients’ records and already you house 1.6million files, I ask, then won’t you eventually run out of space and therefore why don’t we now file everything electronically?

‘Largely because of the cost,’ says Dawne, ‘but aside from that it would be a huge culture change for all staff. In terms of cost it does cost more to keep things paper-based. We have to print off certain documents that are held electronically, for example results for the medical records when prepping for an outpatient appointment. We then remove and shred them when the file is later returned to us. Then there is the transport cost for the vans travelling back-and-fourth to the Queen Alexandra hospital five times a day, not to mention housing of the documents.’


Pierson Da Costa - Quality and Auditing Officer

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Pierson (centre) has been a quality and auditing officer for four years and role stretches across various duties which includes anything from ordering the hospital food for the two-week cycle menu, to monitoring and checking the taste, quality, food prep, presentation and delivery of the meals to the patients daily.

‘I’m also monitored by a client team who come to the trust once a month, so the buck doesn’t stop with me,’ he laughs.

Pierson invites any patients that have complained about the food to taste the meals not only upon complaining, but also a year later. ‘I have a former patient coming to do just that tomorrow,’ he says. ‘It’s important to me that if I can, I’ll change their former opinion as we take pride in the food and we are preparing and service,’ says Pierson.

It’s a Thursday morning and four facilities management team leaders have joined Pierson on today’s food tasting session. Speaking in between bites of the Beef Casserole, Pierson says: ‘It’s important that different members of staff, patients and the public try the food. We always ask the nurses on ward to have a taste that way if a patient complains about their meal to them they will have an idea what the dish tastes like.’

Pierson also carries out unannounced visits upon the dishes being served to patients. ‘I will look at basic things such as – are the trays lined up correctly and is the cutlery wrapped, to bigger things such as – is the meal only half uncovered so that it doesn’t go cold by the time it reaches the patient.

I sit in on today’s food tasting session and the scores come out quite good, with no dish receiving less than 3/5 and some dishes receiving 5/5. The macaroni cheese and harvest vegetable pie was the most popular dish with the chicken and bacon pie and beef casserole coming in right behind. As for puddings, I was sold on the strawberry cheesecake whilst the others were more taken with the apricot pie.

Mick Lyons - Rocky Appeal Founder

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"People thought I would run out of steam, but it’s my mum who drives me to carry on".

Having now reached his 71st birthday, which ties in with his 30th year as a champion fundraiser, Mick Lyons, founder of The Rocky Appeal, talks about his overwhelming past victories in fundraising and raising over £13 million for Portsmouth Hospitals.

It all began when Mick was working as a policeman in Portsmouth Police Division in 1981 and his parents were living on the Isle of Wight. Mick started to notice a decline in his mother’s health and following six months of trailing in-and-out of the doctor’s surgery for a diagnosis, it was revealed that Grace Lyons had contracted bowel cancer, and due to the delayed diagnosis it had spread across her entire body.

Grace sadly passed away a month after diagnosis weighing just three stone; a fact which infuriates Mick who believes that if a CAT scanner had been used to detect the disease sooner, his mother’s life could have been saved. Grace’s death motivated Mick on his journey of over 30 years of champion fundraising for Queen Alexandra Hospital.

After 11 months of pleading to Portsmouth Hospitals, Mick finally started making progress. And after two-and-a-half years of fundraising QA was able to afford the CAT scanner at a cost of £1million.

Mick says, ‘once I get my teeth into something I stick with it’. He then goes onto say how overwhelmed with emotion he was when QA named the scanner after his late mother.

Mick was awarded the British Empire Medal by Hampshire Police for his massive fundraising for the Police Dependants Trust and QA.

Fundraising is a joint involvement with the aid of the general public, and Mick cannot be thankful enough to the many people who have helped him raise the incredible £13 million that he has reached today.

Fundraisers for The Rocky Appeal are awarded with a shield if they reach a target of £1,000 which is presented to them as a memento and keepsake for their efforts in raising this amount of money. To date 650 shields have been presented.

Following Mick’s success with non-stop fundraising over the last 30 years, further life saving equipment has been provided for QA and St Mary’s hospitals. To date Mick’s fundraising has paid for:

- A Cat scanner department
- Lithotripter department
- MRI Scanner department
- A Unique Cancer Laboratory department
- Mobile transport incubators
- Diagnostic imaging suite
- Radar Scope
- High frequency ventilators
- High specification incubators
- Breast pumps
- Oxygen saturation monitors
- Phototherapy unit
- Specialist endoscopic ultrasound
- Futuristic dialysis machines
- Space Age Futuristic Digital Keyhole Surgery Theatres

At the age of 71 Mick should lean back and settle into retirement, reflecting on his overwhelming achievements over the years. Instead he has set himself another goal. This time The Rocky Appeal hopes to raise £2.5 million towards the Da Vinci Robot, which will be for robotic digital keyhole surgery offering countless benefits, including a quicker recovery than traditional method, less pain and infection, less invasive, and improved precision and efficiency, making QA hospital one of the few hospitals in the country to offer this service.

The trust would like to wish Mick the best of luck in achieving his goals for Portsmouth Hospitals, and would like to thank everyone that has been involved with The Rocky Appeal over the years.

For more information on The Rocky Appeal, contact Mick Lyons on (023) 9228 6487, or email mick.lyons@porthosp.nhs.uk

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Last updated - 09 June 2016
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