The latest patient survey results for 2010, published today by the Care Quality Commission, show a significant improvement in how patients rate the quality of their care at Ashford and St Peter’s.

Chief Nurse Suzanne Rankin explains more: “Two years ago we made a very public pledge to improve patient experience at our two hospitals – particularly looking at how we communicate with our patients, the quality of the environment, treating patients with dignity and respect, how noisy the wards are at night and so on. I am delighted that the results published today show a marked improvement in the way patients rate their experience here, with our average scores moving from the bottom 20% of Trusts nationally to being very firmly in the middle 60%. This is a significant shift and means the care we deliver here is of a good standard and compares very well with the rest of the NHS.

Clearly there are improvements to make, and we have high ambitions on behalf of our patients. We don’t want to be a middle performing Trust; we want our patients to rate us as one of the best hospitals in the country which is why we will shortly be launching a programme with every single member of our staff (over 3,200) to draw on real patient stories to help put our agreed values and behaviours into practice, for every patient, every single day.”

Out of a total of 64 questions, Ashford and St Peter’s scored well above average on three – asking patients for views on their care whilst in hospital, copying patient letters to GPs and having somewhere safe to keep their belongings – and about the same as other Trusts for the remaining 61.

Suzanne continues: “Collecting feedback from our patients – good or bad - is very important and helps us to continually improve. Over the last year we have introduced a new feedback form which shows us, on a regular basis, which areas of the hospital are making the most improvements and I give a special Chief Nurse’s award every month for the area with the best results.”

Other areas where the Trust scored well in the survey included patients not being bothered by noise at night from staff, the availability of hand-wash gels, doctors and nurses talking about patients with dignity and respect, the number of nurses on duty, effective pain relief, patients being given clear written information about their medicines and getting good answers to their questions about their operation or procedure.

Suzanne adds: “Improving patient experience is one of the Trust’s overall priorities and something we are continually working on. In a recent national staff survey we scored in the top 20% for staff motivation which bodes well for continued improvements for patient experience for the future. Our next steps now will be to take the detailed information within the survey and target those areas where we haven’t done so well. For example, patients being disturbed at night by other patients, making sure doctors and nurses demonstrate they are washing their hands between patients more clearly, and better overall communication. More recently we have introduced hourly care rounds within our wards which means our nursing staff will be checking on patients regularly to make sure they are comfortable, to see if they need the bathroom, something to eat or drink and so on.

The values and behaviours that we have developed with our staff – putting patients first, having a passion for excellence, taking personal responsibility and having pride in our team – will help us move to the next stage and help staff understand the personal impact they can make, no matter how long or short their contact with a patient is.”

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