Standards of cleanliness at University Hospitals Plymouth (UHP) have been rated as 99%, according to a recent report published by the NHS Commissioning Board.
The Patient-Led Assessment of the Care Environment (PLACE) is part of a national system that aims to help NHS organisations to understand how well they are meeting the needs of their patients and to identify where improvements can be made. It’s led by patient assessors, who offer a non-technical view across a range of environmental aspects and observe how standards are being met that support patient privacy and dignity, food, cleanliness and general maintenance, as well as disability and dementia.
In November of last year, a team of 20 patient representatives undertook the inspection, comprised of members of Healthwatch Plymouth, the hospital’s Patient Council, hospital volunteers and shadow governors. Accompanied by clinical and non-clinical staff, the group visited wards and departments, scrutinised facilities in communal areas, tasted patient meals and examined the external grounds.
In the 2019 patient-led assessment, the Trust was ahead of the national average in five out of the six categories. These five categories were:
- Cleanliness (99.09%)
- Privacy, dignity and wellbeing (86.6%)
- Food (94.6%)
- Dementia (86.5%)
- Disability (86.5%)
Liz McGuffog, Service Lead for Hotel Services at UHP, said: “The Trust’s cleanliness score is a great result once again and 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.
“It is especially gratifying following the transition of hotel services back to being managed in-house. This has been a period of change for our hotel services staff and they have managed it well whilst maintaining our high cleanliness standards.
“We are also really pleased that the Trust has maintained a high score for its food service. Overwhelmingly patients are very complimentary about the hospital’s food service - both the quality of meals and about the housekeepers who are responsible for serving it. There is still work to do and plans are already being prepared to review the menu once again, taking into account the patient feedback we gather which is so important to ensure we are meeting patients’ nutritional needs and expectations.”
Deputy Chief Nurse, Bev Allingham, also welcomed the results of PLACE. “We know that providing a good environment for our patients improves their experience with us” she said.
“We have made significant improvements to our environments both with a dementia and disability focus, and will continue this work throughout this year engaging with patients, carers and the public. Improvements to signage and painting continue along with new patient lockers across the hospital so patients can more safely store their personal belongings nearby.
“Each year we make further efforts to improve and enhance our patient meal experience with our yearly ‘Making Mealtimes Matter’ campaign in March. We will continue to work with our wards to ensure meal times are protected and those patients most in need of help are supported. We will be maintaining our focus on ensuring all patients receive high quality nutrition and hydration at the right time that is right for them and this remains a priority.”
The Trust continues to develop its facilities and equipment. In December the new Discharge Lounge was opened to create extra capacity and provide patients with a comfortable place with reclining chairs for patients to leave hospital from.
Tony Gravett, Deputy Manager at Healthwatch Plymouth said: “We were pleased to be involved in the recent PLACE assessments. Not only did our representatives observe some excellent aspects of care, but we also found the hospital to be clean, the majority of areas well maintained and staff really engaged.”
Bev added: “Overall, it is a really positive assessment, reinforcing the importance and impact of the care environment and providing a clear measure of areas where we are getting it right as well as continuing to focus our efforts on improvements in the year ahead.”
For further information please contact the Press & Communications Office for Plymouth Hospitals NHS Trust on 0845 155 8207