IN THE wake of growing speculation over the contents of the Francis Inquiry’s final report, Stafford Hospital’s chief executive urged people to note the changes at the trust since failings in care were first exposed.
Mid Staffordshire NHS Foundation Trust chief executive Lyn Hill-Tout said, sadly it was impossible to undo the past of the harm some patients and their relatives suffered as a result of ‘terrible care when they were at their most vulnerable’.
“However it is not representative of the care patients receive at Stafford Hospital today,” she said. “The care of our patients has improved significantly over the last few years.”
She said this was evidenced by current patient feedback and support from the local community who use the hospital’s services.”
Mrs Hill-Tout encouraged people to read the wide range of independent evidence available of improvements at the trust so they could get a ‘factual and up-to-date view’ of the care patients receive when they choose to come to Stafford Hospital.
“The Care Quality Commission lifted all concerns it had about Stafford Hospital in July 2012 and, our mortality rates are second best out of 41 Trusts in the Midlands and East of England region and have been consistently better than the level expected for the last few years,” she said. “The continuing focus we put on infection prevention and control throughout our hospitals has meant that our hospital acquired Clostridium Difficile and MRSA infection rates are also low.
“None of our patients has acquired MRSA infection in hospital since February 2012 and our Clostridium Difficile rate continues to fall year on year.”
She said all ward at the hospital now had a ward sister in charge, responsible for maintaining the quality of nursing care and the smooth running of their ward.
“We have increased nursing staff numbers and the ratio of qualified to unqualified nurses,” she said. “Staffing levels are constantly monitored to ensure there are enough trained staff on duty at all times.”
Mrs Hill-Tout said one of the outcomes of that increase was a reduction in the number of patients who experienced falls while in the care of the trust.
“In March 2010 we introduced ‘Comfort Rounds’ – where our nurses undertake two hourly checks of every patient during the afternoon, evening and throughout the night and ask if they are comfortable, if they need pain relief or require a drink or something to eat or if they need assistance to go to the toilet,” she said. “This is now being introduced in other hospitals.”
She said board meetings had been held in public since April 2009 and since February 2012 these had started with a patient story, where patients of the trust described their recent care and treatment.
“Our Trust Board papers are easily accessible and we welcome members of the public to our monthly meetings to ask questions,” said Mrs Hill-Tout. “Our quality and safety report explains how we are performing against all of the quality measures which are so important to patients and their families.
“We are not complacent," she said. "We know we don’t get it right every time but we do not hide the facts when things are not as good what we would want them to be.”