Improving handover arrangements

Handover is an increasing challenge faced by many all over the country, with multiple handovers during the day involving different shift changes for different grades of staff.

Having self-identified this as an area for improvement, Torbay and South Devon NHS Foundation Trust outlines the way they have responded.

Why the improvement is needed?

Doctors in paediatrics training at the Torbay and South Devon NHS Foundation Trust have previously highlighted handover as an area that they felt could be improved. The Trust also noted this as an increasing problem faced by many elsewhere in the country.

What has been introduced?

The team have completed a continuous quality improvement project over three years to develop their handover arrangements. A handover proforma with a safety brief has been introduced. This is completed three times a day, at the start of handover sessions and highlights the major issues. It has also been useful in collecting cases or audit, x-ray meeting review and governance reviews.

In addition, the team have altered their consultant duties, providing two consultants on duty daily, to improve teaching and supervision and to support doctors in training access to study leave. Regular departmental meetings that include simulated scenarios to support learning and team working have also been implemented.


Improved perception on handover

The GMC National Training Survey (NTS) reflected the improvement within the department with consecutive above outliers for handover over the past three years. The team have started sharing the handover proforma with other local education providers within the region.

I want to learn more

For further information, please contact Dr Rowan Kerr-Liddell at

Who is this page for?
This page is for anyone involved in operational efficiency and maintaining patient safety.
Why might this page help you?
A good handover process facilitates safe and efficient practice.