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Joud Abduljawad – A&E

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Joud Abduljawad, 37, is Divisional Clinical Director of Emergency Services at University College London Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust. He believes that his learning journey as CQC specialist advisor has been vital to his professional development.

"Having trained in Damascus, Syria, I moved to the UK in 2003 and became a consultant in emergency medicine in 2011 at the Princess Alexandra Hospital NHS Trust.

In early 2014 I was working as its clinical director of urgent and ambulatory care when I was approached by CQC's head of hospital inspection, Siobhan Jordan, about being a specialist advisor.

I feel passionately about emergency medicine because it represents the essence of medicine, which is easing suffering and saving lives. The specialist advisor role seemed a good chance to make a difference to the patient care that A&E revolves around.

My first inspection was in April 2014, and I've since done 13 more around full-time work. Rearranging my on-call schedule so my time off falls in one chunk makes this possible.

Working as part of a team

On inspections I'm part of the A&E team, which usually consists of a doctor or consultant such as myself, an experienced nurse and an expert by experience – plus the CQC inspector.

As we all have different experience, we add our own perspective. My expertise is patient safety, medical staffing levels and quality of care.

I enjoy working in a team with other high-class professionals and always leave inspections having developed new friendships.

Following the patient's journey

Putting ourselves in a patient's shoes gives us a flavour of how people feel while using A&E. So we ask the lead clinician or lead nurse to take us through the patient's journey from the front door to leaving the department.

As a clinician, I find that focusing on the patient's perspective rather than from the point of view of a busy doctor is a very liberating way to work.

Getting staff voices heard

I speak to as many people as I can – patients and staff – to try and get a feel for how the service works. Junior doctors are especially useful for getting a picture as they're very much on the frontline of care.

We ask staff if they feel part of the service development. If there do turn out to be issues, staff will often already be aware of them. Including their concerns in our reports is a way to help their voices be heard at a higher level so things can get changed.

How different A&Es cope under pressure

Emergency medicine in general is often in the news, particularly in winter when it struggles to cope with demand. Being a specialist advisor has shown me that although every A&E department is under pressure, some manage better than others with the same budgets and the same resources.

As NHS organisations we must be able to learn from each other. I feel that CQC is ideally placed to create this shared learning as much as it is to regulate. One way it does this is by highlighting positive examples as much as pointing out things that could be better.

It’s often challenging to share information across all A&E staff. But one service we inspected recently had created a portal website including every piece of knowledge, guideline, serious incident and complaint. This was a great way to keep everyone updated, and I was happy to showcase this as a good example.

Professional development as a specialist advisor

Since early 2015, I've been Divisional Clinical Director of Emergency Services at University College London Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust.

I lead the emergency department and acute medical unit, as well as working as a consultant in the emergency department. The trust is also redesigning its A&E department and aims to create a state-of-the-art service by 2017.

Not only has being a specialist advisor shown me what an outstanding emergency department looks like, but I also have a clear picture of how to create a new culture with patient-focused care.

I feel that CQC inspections have given me an extra depth of knowledge and experience as a potential leader I wouldn’t have got elsewhere - and I was able to draw on this when I applied for my current role."

Last updated:
29 May 2017


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