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Patient-led assessment finds good standards of cleanliness at Derriford Hospital

Image of a patient meal trolley

Standards of cleanliness at Derriford Hospital have been rated as 98%, according to a report published today by the NHS Commissioning Board.

Patient-Led Assessments of the Care Environment (PLACE) is the national system for assessing the quality of the patient environment and aims to help organisations understand how well they are meeting the needs of their patients and identify where improvements can be made.

The assessments are made solely by patient representatives who offer a non- technical view across a range of environmental aspects against common guidelines.

A team of 12 patient assessors carried out a two-day assessment at Derriford Hospital in May 2016, looking at standards in six areas. Over this period they assessed how the environment supports patient’s privacy and dignity, food, cleanliness, general maintenance, dementia and disability.

The team of patient assessors were made up from members of Healthwatch Plymouth, the hospital’s Patient Council and a number of shadow governors. Supported by clinical and non-clinical staff from the Trust, they visited over 25 separate areas of the hospital, including wards, departments, entrances, public toilets and car parks following set criteria to complete their assessment.

The team also sampled the lunch and evening meals being served to patients on six wards and spoke to the patients on the wards to gain real-time feedback.

In the patient-led assessment, Derriford Hospital achieved its highest ever score for cleanliness. Scores for the other categories were 86% for food, 84% for privacy and dignity, 67% for dementia and 68% for the new category of disability.

Liz McGuffog, Service Lead for Hotel Services at Derriford Hospital, said: “We are really pleased that our cleanliness has been scored at 98% - this is a reflection of the ongoing hard work and dedication of our cleaning and nursing staff who work so hard to ensure a safe environment for our patients.

“Following extensive consultation and testing, the Trust is also launching a new patient menu with the intention of improving the patient experience by providing greater variety, enhancing breakfast and snack choices and ensuring that the overall offering meets the requirements of the Hospital Food Standards.

“The new menu will improve the breadth of choice, the quality of the offer and provide additional nutritional benefits to those patients that need it most. It  will see improvements to specialist diets, a dementia-friendly menu, new breakfast options and “bistro-style” evening meal that includes hot and cold items, alongside a hot dessert. We are confident that this will have a big impact on our PLACE food score next year.”

Tony Gravett, Deputy Healthwatch Plymouth Manager said: “Healthwatch Plymouth was pleased to be involved in the recent PLACE Assessments at Derriford Hospital.

“Healthwatch representatives spent time talking to staff, patients and visitors during the two day visit and observed some excellent aspects of care. Overall we believe that improvement continues to be made.

“We found the hospital to be clean, the majority of areas well maintained and staff really engaged. Healthwatch Plymouth is looking forward to working closely with the Trust, to involve patients in improvements to the care environment.”

Disappointingly, the hospital’s scores were below the national averages in four categories and the assessment highlighted areas where improvements need to be made.  However, the feedback from Healthwatch and other patient representatives following the assessment process was very positive in all categories of the assessment.  It should be recognised that some parts of the hospital are over 35 years old and this can present challenges for those who constantly strive to provide a clean and safe environment in order to deliver excellent standards of care.

Beverley Allingham, Deputy Director of Nursing said: “We recognise that providing a good environment matters to patients and that we have more work to do.

“Over the last year we have been working very hard to improve and enhance our patient meal experience with our ‘Making Mealtimes Matter’ Campaign. We continue to work with our wards to ensure that meal times are protected, those patients who need it are offered help with eating, our red tray and lid systems are consistently implemented and the environment in which the meals are served is calm and relaxing.”

“The hospital has a programme of works underway to make the hospital more dementia friendly, including the addition of brightly coloured picture and text bathroom signage, contrasting blue toilet seats and is painting the ward bay entrances on the Trust’s Healthcare of the Elderly wards in contrasting colours.

“Overall, it was a very positive assessment, reinforcing the importance of environment and provides a clear measure of areas where we are getting it right and areas for improvement.”

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