(Article from Derbyshire Times)

Derbyshire Healthwatch say variations in care are worrying after the revelations that most of Britain’s hospitals are failing to meet good standards.

The State of Care report published yesterday revealed that the vast majority – 76 per cent – of hospital trusts in the UK have failed to get a rating above ‘inadequate’ or ‘requires improvement’, and among them, work is still going on to improve Chesterfield Royal Hospital which itself received an ‘amber’ grade in August.

Now Derbyshire Healthwatch warns that people are right to be concerned as the first national report of its kind revealed huge variations in quality and safety around the country.

Lee Mellor of the healthcare consumer watchdog said: “People are right to be concerned about the findings published in the State of Care report. There is a clear and significant variation in quality of health services available, not only in Derbyshire but across the country as a whole.

“The findings underline the importance of listening to peoples experiences, responding to complaints and learning from previous mistakes. Quality of care is as much about patients feeling informed, supported and listened to, as it is about clinical effectiveness and safety.

But he also praised the Royal for trumping many parts of the country with its rating for care and patient outcomes.

Mr Mellor added: “Whilst the report has highlighted areas where improvement is required, there are also many examples of good practice.

“It is clear that the quality of relationships between NHS staff and patients is of great importance to patients and is a key indicator of a positive patient experience. This was found in the Chesterfield Royal Hospital CQC report which reported staff to be caring.
“Better patient outcomes would result from a strong emphasis on providing high-quality patient experience.”

“We are continuing to monitor this issue and are calling for patients and the public to get in touch with their experiences of care, whether it be praise, criticism or ideas for improvement.”

Chief Executive of Chesterfield Ryoal Gavin Boyle said: The hospital is focusing on 12 points pinpointed as must-dos for the Royal and is working through the actions for these and other suggested recommendations the CQC made in their report.”

Director of Nursing and Patient Care, Lynn Andrews added: Our hospitals main objective is to provide safe, high-quality, people-centred care and so we were delighted to see positive examples of good practice singled out in all the areas that were inspected. Our focus at present though is on the areas where we need to make improvements. When the CQC returns we look forward to showing them what we have achieved.

Nationally, the CQC reported that while hospitals are dwindling in care quality, GPs surgeries and care homes are leading the way with 80 per cent and 60 per cent with good or outstanding ratings respectively.

A few key issues within hospitals are staff shortages, as inpatient surveys show there are often not enough nurses on duty, and since 2009 the service has lost 4,000 inpatient psychiatric nurses (15 per cent).

A lack of permanent staff means trusts are continuing to use agency and bank staff to fill the gaps, with a 27 per cent increase in spending on temporary staff between 2013 and 2014.

And the CQC found that a lack of permanent staff means trusts are continuing to use agency and bank staff to fill the gaps.There was a 27 per cent increase in spending on temporary staff between 2012/13 and 2013/1440, and this trend continued into 2014/15.

An FOI request made to Chesterfield Royal last December revealed the total number of temporary registered nurses being employed was 27 and the Trust says in its operational strategy it aims to reduce agency spending by £2 million by 2016.

Visit www.healthwatchderbyshire.co.uk or call 01773 880786 if you would like to share your experience with Healthwatch.

© Healthwatch Derbyshire 2021

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