On Wednesday our latest Care Quality Commission (CQC) report was published. This follows an unannounced visit back in September, where inspectors came onto some of our medical wards at St Peter’s to look at aspects of our nursing care. You can read the full report here and as you will see, there is lots of positive feedback, alongside things we need to improve.
I was delighted to see the CQC use words like ‘caring’ to describe our nursing colleagues and to hear patients say they were treated with kindness and that their privacy and dignity were well respected. Of course that’s what we would expect, and it’s heartening to have the reassurance that it’s happening on all our wards consistently. The CQC also recognised the excellent work we’ve done around preventing and managing pressure ulcers, as well as noting that we had sufficient nursing staff on duty, that temporary staff were well inducted and patient records completed appropriately. That’s a lot to feel proud of and reassurance to our patients and the local community of the great care we continue to give every day.
Of course there were areas we need to improve, particularly around making sure fire exits aren’t blocked, the safe storage of medicine, regularly checking emergency equipment and making sure staff are completing their mandatory training. Whilst we’re getting on and fixing these, what’s particularly encouraging is that most of these are issues noticed on one or two wards only and not widespread problems across our hospitals.
Since the visit, we have piloted an innovative ‘e-checklist’ app, known as ‘Perfect Ward’, which has taken the top ten issues raised by the CQC and created a daily checklist. Each day the ward’s senior nurse leader is prompted to complete a series of checks, such as; Are the fire exits clear? Is the medicine fridge temperature correct? Has the resus trolley equipment been checked? These are all simple things but on a busy ward an extra reminder is always helpful. The app has been really successful, and we want to roll this out across all our wards.
With regard to our mandatory training levels, the report makes reference to us not reaching our target of 90% – this is an ambitious target (highlighting its importance) and last year we achieved 81% which, although short of the overall target, benchmarks well against other local trusts. And we all know that when our hospitals are very busy, as they continue to be, we have to prioritise the needs of patients and training sessions do get pushed back. It will be important going forward to find other ways to make training more accessible, e-learning modules for example, so watch out for more details.
Our report has picked up a bit of media coverage, and you may have heard Dr David Fluck responding to questions from BBC Radio Surrey on Wednesday morning.
During these last two weeks as we’ve continued to be extremely busy, I’ve seen first-hand how colleagues are genuinely living out our values. The compassion, care and commitment of all our staff has been humbling to see. In recognising the enormous contribution of our staff I also want to acknowledge the seriousness of the challenge we have faced this winter. I’m pleased to see a national debate emerging this week on the future of the NHS. The Chief Executive of NHS Providers, Chris Hopson, has written to Jeremy Hunt today calling for significant more support for the NHS, and you can read the full letter here.
In the meantime, my continued and heartfelt thanks to everyone across our hospitals; I feel extremely proud to be part of such a committed team.
Have a great weekend,
With best wishes,
Deputy Chief Executive