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Trust commitment to improving patient care
Written by Head of Communications   

“Improving the way patients feel about the care they receive in our hospitals is one of our top priorities at Ashford and St Peter’s and is a very personal ambition of mine,” confirms the Trust’s Chief Nurse, Caroline Becher.

“When I joined Ashford and St Peter’s last summer, we made some very public pledges to significantly improve the patient experience. This year’s inpatient survey results, which relate to patients who stayed at our hospitals last July, show we have improved and that we are about the same as the majority of Trusts across the country. This is not where we want to be but, although we are a little disappointed we are not downhearted. We have done a lot of work since last year and more recent internal surveys show that we are beginning to make the progress we committed to.”

Overall, today’s survey results shows that the majority of patients were happy with the care they received at both Ashford and St Peter’s hospitals and felt they were treated with respect and dignity. Specific areas to work on include reducing the levels of noise patients are experiencing at night and making sure staff communicate clearly with patients so they understand as much as possible about their care and treatment, including the medicines they are prescribed.


Caroline continues: “We recently introduced a new electronic survey device into three ward areas where we know patient experience has not been as high as it should be. Results taken in January and February this year show that patients did not have to share their accommodation with members of the opposite sex (which had been an issue in last year’s survey), 91% of those surveyed said they had been given a choice of food (another area we pledged to improve last year) and almost all (98%) said they were given enough privacy and dignity when being treated or examined.

There is no doubt we have much more to do, but these initial results are encouraging and show that with the right level of commitment, we can make the difference that we know our patients want. This is not about making a ‘quick fix’, but about a sustained quality improvement for the future. Our work continues; for example we are currently re-writing and improving our printed patient information, improving our admission and discharge processes and making sure we support our staff to give the best possible care they can.”


Last year the Trust committed to sharing their progress against the key pledges that were made in response to last year’s survey results:

Our pledge How we’ve improved
To improve our ward accommodation Following an extensive ward improvement programme, we recently declared that we have virtually eliminated mixed sex accommodation at both hospitals, which means men and women should not have to share their accommodation with members of the opposite sex.

Many of our wards have also been redecorated and refurbished, ensuring they comply with the latest standards in hygiene and cleanliness.
Improving car parking We completed a series of improvements in both visitor and staff parking at Ashford Hospital last year, resurfacing our two public car parks. Following the approval of the Chertsey Masterplan by Runnymede Borough Council for the future development of the St Peter’s Hospital campus, the Trust is now applying for planning permission to build two new car parking decks at St Peter’s. Parts of some of the older office buildings, known as the Ramp, are currently being demolished and will give additional parking space for staff.
Reviewing information patients receive about their medicines Information on medicines for discharge has been improved by our pharmacy team, with an additional information sheet provided. Staff are now required to counsel patients on their medicines ensuring they understand exactly what they are taking away with them. The Trust is shortly launching a medicines helpline for patients to access information after they have been discharged.
Helping to reduce noise at night This is still an issue for patients and we are now looking to introduce ear-plugs for patients who request them and encouraging our staff to maintain a quiet atmosphere on the wards during the night. This is still work in progress.


Last Updated on Thursday, 20 May 2010 14:02