Colchester Hospital dealt another blow

COLCHESTER Hospital has been dealt another blow after an inpatient survey revealed it performed worse in some areas than other trusts.

The Care Quality Commission published the results of the 2009 NHS Inpatient Survey, yesterday covering 162 hospital trusts in England. The major survey questioned 69,000 NHS hospital inpatients during June, July and September last year.

It revealed that patients’ experiences at Colchester Hospital had deteriorated in the several areas compared to other trusts.

Overall 430 patients at Colchester Hospital responded to the survey and the results revealed that they scored an average of 6.8 out of 10 for their experience in the emergency department (some felt they were not given enough privacy), 6.1 out of 10 for waiting lists and planned admissions, 6.9 out of 10 for care and treatment (some felt they did not get help when using the call button), and six out of 10 for their leaving treatment, (in terms of giving information to family about patient care when being discharged).

This is yet another blow for the hospital following a devastating few months. Last May the East of England’s Strategic Health Authority ordered the Foundation Trust hospital to improve standards after it failed in areas of the speed and quality of care.

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Then in November, its chairman Richard Bourne was told to step down from his post after regulators expressed concerns about the death rate as well as patient safety.

Overall patients at both Ipswich Hospital and West Suffolk Hospitals gave an average rating, in line with other trusts.

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Julie Firth, director of nursing and patient experience at Colchester Hospital, said the respondents had been patients before the end of August 2009, just three months after the results of the Inpatient survey 2008 had been published, which meant the Trust’s resulting action plan had not been fully implemented.

She said: “We welcome the publication because it focuses on the need to improve the patient experience, which is one of the leading priorities of this Trust.

“A huge amount of time and money has been invested in improving the patient experience since last August and more recent surveys show this is already beginning to bear fruit, although we acknowledge much more needs to be done.

“We increased our capacity by 50 beds and 280 staff last year [2009/10], which meant front line staff were able to spend more time with patients in better facilities with greater privacy and dignity due to a lower rate of bed occupancy.

“We are continuing to improve our estate so that by Christmas we will open a new �20m two-storey ward block at Colchester General Hospital with the most up-to-date facilities.

“We have entered a partnership with the Institute of Customer Service to deliver an accredited customer service training programme, and established a Patient Experience Committee, which includes public governors, who will monitor and drive through improvements.”

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