The Governors’ Patient Experience Group meets seven or eight times a year and looks at the many aspects of being a patient at the Trust. This is done in a variety of ways but one of the most important is visiting departments and wards to see services first-hand.
A recent visit was to an area providing an exceptionally valuable service but where patients do not visit. This was to Pathology, located on the ground floor of the Out-patients building at St Peter’s where it all happens under the umbrella name of Surrey Pathology Services.
This is a joint venture covering Ashford & St Peter’s, Royal Surrey County and Frimley Health (the latter now including Wexham Park and Heatherwood Hospitals as well as Frimley). The Royal Berkshire in Reading may shortly be joining.
The partnership is saving money by minimising duplication and has resulted in the ability to access the highest level of clinical expertise. Transport is provided in-house from 7.30 am to midnight delivering samples to wherever the investigation is to take place. As well as providing a service to hospitals and the community, it is also important to remember the service to GP practices.
Governors were amazed to hear about the volume of work and here are just a few facts and figures:
- 90,000 units of blood each year are issued by the Blood Bank
- 700 blood samples arrive in the Blood Science Laboratory alone every day
- 30,000 allergy tests are undertaken each year, and this figure increases each year!
The expensive testing machinery was shown to the Governors and enthusiastically explained by managers. One section – Virology – has been nominated for a Staff WOW! Award, such was their speed of working. So, have machines taken over? The answer was a definite ‘no’. For many investigations there is no substitute for looking at what is happening under the microscope. We were grateful to have seen first-hand this ‘behind the scenes’ vital service which contributes so much to the patient experience.
Chair, Patient Experience Group, Governor for Woking & Guildford