5 reasons why we're fully behind the Red2Green approach

Mark Cubbon, our regional Chief Operating Officer, discusses how the Red2Green approach is helping reduce unnecessary delays for patients across the Midlands and East of England and why it's gaining momentum on social media.

I would hope by now that many of you have heard about Red2Green. Perhaps your trust has introduced it already, is planning to implement it, or maybe you've seen the growing number of colleagues discussing the benefits at events or on social media.

Whatever your current understanding of the approach, here's five reasons why we're so keen to support its adoption across the Midlands and East of England and beyond.

1. Red2Green is so easy to adopt

Developed by Dr Ian Sturgess, the premise of Red2Green is simple: a patient's time is the most important currency in healthcare.

‘Red days’ are defined as those days that fail to contribute to a patient’s discharge from hospital. By working better together, we can reduce red days in favour of value-adding ‘green days’.

Green days are where a patient receives an intervention that supports their care pathway out of hospital and into the best setting for their needs.

Our rapid improvement guide on Red2Green bed days provides more information.

2. Puts patients at the centre of their care

The risks that unnecessary delays pose to patients are now well proven.

Mrs Andrew's story details how she was admitted to hospital after a fall and never made it back to her own home. It’s a powerful example of the very real consequences of wasted time in hospital.

Just 10 days in hospital can contribute to up to 10 years of equivalent muscle ageing in patients over 80.

Prioritising the progression of a patient's care and respecting patients' time is at the heart of the Red2Green approach.

Red2Green also works by encouraging patients to ask more questions about their care their discharge plans, their readiness to go home and where possible encouraging them to get up, get dressed and keeping moving while in hospital.

This approach is gaining momentum on Twitter via the #endPJparalysis hashtag and is supported by NHS England's Chief Nursing Officer, Jane Cummings.

3. Designed to work at ward-level, not 'top-down'

So what does Red2Green look like in practice, on a ward?

For a start, it’s about all members of a multi-disciplinary team starting the day by asking whether it’s going to be a red day or green day for each patient.

If it's going to be a red day, staff can then look to resolve those problems early on. If they're unable to, appropriate escalation measures kick in that could involve social care, or multiple levels of the organisation.

One of the key principles of Red2Green is 'doing today's work today'. This has relevance for all professional and managerial staff working with patients day-to-day. A critical component is identifying constraints and working together to find local solutions to address them.

4. It's proven to work

We're seeing trusts achieve great things following implementation - it’s been truly inspiring to see. There’s plenty of good practice happening across the Midlands and East.

For example, Ipswich Hospital NHS Trust has achieved its lowest ever length of stay through Operation Red2Green – prioritising daily identification of ‘Red days’ and intensive support weeks for the whole system. We know that other trusts including Leicester and Nottingham are seeing real results through their take-up of the initiative, too.

What we are hearing from trusts is that Red2Green allows us to focus on the things we can do to improve patient flow across hospitals, rather than spending a lot of time trying to improve things which are difficult to influence.

5. There's a growing wealth of resources to help – and you can shape it

We have lots of resources on our improvement hub that explain more about the approach, processes, and opportunities.

We're supporting the spread of Red2Green across the Midlands and East through a range of events and activities. We want to create a social movement around this work, which is the true spirit of Red2Green.

Are you implementing Red2Green? We'd really like to hear about your experience.

Tell us about your experience

What's working and what are the challenges for you? Let us know or start a discussion. Our improvement hub is a platform for you to share good practice with each other.

If you’re not using the approach, what’s stopping you? What alternatives are you using in order to centre care around the patient and improve flow through your hospitals? Get in touch.

We want to continue to refine our support so that it works for you and adds real value. Let us know what you’re doing and what you’d like to see from us on our discussion boards.

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