Following a recent unannounced inspection at the Trust by the CQC, Chief Nurse Sue Tranka, commented:
“We are always very open to visits by the CQC and welcome their feedback and report. Whilst we recognise there are areas for improvement, we were encouraged to see many good areas of practice noted by the inspectors.
We were particularly pleased to read their description of our ‘caring’ staff and to hear that patients feel they are treated with kindness and their privacy and dignity is well respected. This is, of course, the standard of care we expect, but it’s heartening to have the reassurance that it’s happening across our wards consistently. The other good news is that staff on all of the wards visited by the CQC said they felt well supported by their managers and described an open and transparent culture where they are able to raise concerns.
The main areas for improvement identified by the inspectors were fire safety and exits, the safe storage of medicine, ensuring emergency equipment is regularly checked and staff mandatory training. It’s important to recognise that these were issues noticed on one or two wards and not widespread problems across our hospitals.
Where the CQC alerted us to issues – such as a blocked fire exit and unlocked medicine cupboard – we took immediate action. Since the visit, which took place in September, we have also piloted an innovative ‘e-checklist’ solution, known as ‘Perfect Ward’.
We looked at the top ten issues raised in the CQC report and created a daily checklist. Each day the 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 environment an extra reminder is always helpful.
The app has been really successful, so our challenge going into this year is how we embed this good practice across our other wards.
With regards to our mandatory training, the report refers to us not reaching our target of 90% of staff being up-to-date with their training requirements. This is an ambitious target (which recognises the importance of this training) and last year we achieved 81% - which benchmarks well against other local acute Trusts. When our hospitals are very busy we need to prioritise the needs of our patients and training sessions do get pushed back. We need to find ways to make training more accessible – such as e-learning modules – and we will be focusing on that this year.”