Hospitals across Torbay and Southern Devon have received some top ratings in a report published by the Health and Social Care Information Centre.
Both Torbay and Southern Devon Health and Care NHS Trust, which runs nine community hospitals stretching from Dartmouth to Dawlish, as well as South Devon Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust, which runs Torbay Hospital, took part in the patient-led PLACE assessments.
The Department of Health and the NHS Commissioning Board recommend that all hospitals, hospices and independent treatment centres providing NHS funded care undertake an annual assessment of the quality of non-clinical services and the condition of their buildings.
The annual self- assessments, which took place earlier this year, are referred to as Patient-Led Assessments of the Care Environment (PLACE). The assessments are carried out by teams consisting of nurses, matrons, doctors, catering staff, domestic service managers, and most importantly groups of patients and service-users*. PLACE aims to review key areas from a patient perspective across a range of non-clinical services within five main categories:
· Cleanliness of the environment
· Food and hydration – the quality and availability of food and drinks
· Privacy, dignity and wellbeing – how well the environment protects people’s privacy, dignity and wellbeing
· Condition, appearance and maintenance – the internal and external condition of the buildings, fixtures and fittings. How well the building meets the needs of those who use it, for example, through signage and car parking facilities
· Dementia (new category for 2015) – the facilities provided within a dementia friendly environment
All of the hospitals performed above the national average in most of the key assessment areas and, in addition, seven community hospitals in Torbay and Southern Devon (Ashburton, Brixham, Dawlish, Newton Abbot, Paignton, Teignmouth and Torbay) scored above the national average in all five categories.
However, the assessments also identified some areas for improvement. As a result, and as part of the trusts’ commitment to providing the highest quality of care, over the next 12 months minor improvement works will be carried out including:
· Reviewing seating to ensure various heights of chairs are available, with and without arms
· A review of menus and the availability of ‘finger foods’ as a complete meal choice rather than just snacks
· Addressing, where possible, redecoration, lack of storage and items such as hand rails and blinds
· The ‘dementia friendly environment’ was a new scoring category for this year’s assessments. Whilst all of our hospitals scored well, there are improvements that can be made including clocks with the date and time, signage that includes pictures and text, toilet doors painted in a single distinctive colour and ‘matt’ flooring where possible.
Karen Robertson, Head of Facilities for both Trusts, said: “For patients, visiting hospital can be a worrying time and environment, food and privacy and dignity are all an important part of a patient’s overall experience. PLACE inspections are patient-led and offer an impartial view of each site through the eyes of a patient or service-user.
“The strong results across our hospitals in Torbay and South Devon demonstrate our commitment in making the whole patient experience as comfortable as possible and ensuring we deliver the highest standard of excellence and quality of care to all those who stay in our hospitals.
“We are always grateful for the assessment results as they help us to ensure that our hospitals are the very best they can be and help us to prioritise our improvement plans. We have put together an action plan to start to undertake some minor improvement work in the areas identified in the assessments.
“I know staff at all of the hospitals will take pride in knowing the hard work and dedication they put in each day has helped achieve these results.”