Norfolk’s main hospital says it is raising the bar in standards of care after introducing a rigorous inspection regime across all its wards.

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Nursing chiefs at the Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital say they have dramatically improved levels of cleanliness, safety and patient care after implementing a “pioneering” daily audit project.

The Evening News joined one of the quality assurance audits at the hospital this week to see what is being done locally to ensure standards do not slip in light of the publication of the Francis inquiry into appalling levels of care at Stafford Hospital between 2005 and 2009.

Officials from the NHS foundation trust carry out one or two inspections a day at the N&N with the assistance of one of their 60 volunteer external auditors.

Hospital management introduced the inspections in October 2011, which are based on the standards of the Care Quality Commission (CQC) - the regulator for hospitals and social care in England.

The quality assurance audits normally take an hour and a half during meal times where standards in cleanliness, tidiness, documentation, infection control and patient care are thoroughly scrutinised. Afterwards, ward sisters and matrons are informed of any action to improve.

Emma McKay, director of nursing, said she was in “no doubt” that the system had improved standards of care.

“No hospital does it like this. If we find issues we ask for an action plan to correct problems and ask for a time scale for when to come back.”

“Every single time we raise the bar higher and we are getting less tolerant and ask for better standards every time. When we get at a certain level we say we want it even higher,” she said.

The audit of the Kimberley Ward - a short stay ward for older people - begins at the entrance with external auditor Eirlys McLean, a trustee for Age UK Norfolk, going in first to assess the welcome patients and visitors receive. The non-uniformed assessor also speaks to patients to get their feedback and ensure that they are being treated with dignity and respect.

Mrs McKay checks the ward to ensure there is no clutter and runs her finger along the top of door frames and curtain rails to check the area is being cleaned properly and is dust-free. She also checks the use-by dates on food in the fridge, inspects hospital equipment to make sure it is clean, and makes sure soap dispensers and hand saniters are not empty.

Meanwhile Liz Hogbin, head of compliance governance, looks at the documentation to ensure ward staff have carried out the relevant risk assessments on patients, including making sure patients at risk of pressure sores are regularly moved and change position.

Officials also monitor lunchtime and dinner time services to ensure patients that need assistance to eat their food get help. The Kimberley Ward inspection concluded with staff being praised for their high standards.

Mrs McKay said a ward would receive one the hospital’s in-house quality assurance audits once a month on top of the formal CQC inspection that comes once a year.

“What comes out of this are assurances for us to make sure our patients are receiving the care they should. All of these audits are written up and reported to the board every month to make sure we maintain the standards and quality that patients get. If there are things that we can improve on we want to know about that and patient feedback is really important to us.”

“Staff take it very seriously and the feedback is constructive. The staff are really upset when they fail an audit, but they take it graciously and they are keen to improve,” she said.

She added that their network of 60 external auditors from organisations such as Age UK, the Older People’s Forum, Norfolk LINk, governors and representatives from the University of East Anglia, offered a valuable fresh pair of eyes to ensure standards were upheld.

Patient Tom Stuttaford, 81, of Elm Hill, Norwich, who spent two days on the ward following a fall at home said he had received “absolutely wonderful” care on the Kimberley Ward.

“People on this ward are absolutely terrific and very clued up. It is first class medicine and they talk to you with compassion and kindliness,” he said.

8 comments

  • 'Raising care standards', acknowledges standards were not high before. This is a shocking admission for the hospital.

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    kenneth jessett

    Thursday, February 7, 2013

  • 'Raising care standards', acknowledges standards were not high before. This is a shocking admission for the hospital.

    Report this comment

    kenneth jessett

    Thursday, February 7, 2013

  • sibs Wesley.....What a load of rubbish. You have NEVER seen a cleaner ! Something wrong with your eyesight ? They are in and out and cleaning under and round the beds all day.

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    LARSON.E. WHIPSNADE

    Thursday, February 7, 2013

  • What a joke that the N & N hospital is an elderly relative of mine has been on a ward for over a month and they leave his food to get cold before they try to get him to eat it,NEVER seen a cleaner and the staff (Doctors and Nurses Etc..) don't communicate with each other on the ward. They also don't talk to the next of kins and family either. Come on N & N start to do what you say you are doing to the press and start doing it in reality please.

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    sibs Wesley

    Thursday, February 7, 2013

  • Last time I used the public toilets in the foyer on a Sunday (NNUH Sept. 2009), notice said: 'these toilets are checked every 30 minutes, the checks were 900 minutes out of date!' The hand dispensers in the ward entrance were empty (2) and the toilet in the ward entrance prior to the actual ward were to say the least disgusting. Hope things have improved in the last 2 years, they should not have to wait to get their ar*es kicked before acting!

    Report this comment

    Cannot Say

    Thursday, February 7, 2013

  • Sibs Welsey. Know your feelings. My grandfather has just been [poorly] discharged from the N&N. as a previous nurse I was shocked at the level of personal care given and assistance to patients. My grandfather was in hospital for just over a month and went from a fairly independent 90 year old to a frail bed ridden man who just gave up. Sad. Very sad

    Report this comment

    Kat1985

    Thursday, February 7, 2013

  • The failings of the Stafford Hospital along with several other NHS hospitals is entirely down to nuLabour's management of the NHS during their term of office. I've never been on to the wards of the N&N, so I can't comment to say if they're following the Stafford Care Plan agenda.

    Report this comment

    nrg

    Friday, February 8, 2013

  • That's pretty special - a talking hospital.

    Report this comment

    Tudor Bushe

    Thursday, February 7, 2013

The views expressed in the above comments do not necessarily reflect the views of this site

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