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Your spotlight on health and social care services


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Hospital changes improve patient satisfaction


Local Healthwatch made 600 visits last year to find out how people feel about the quality of health and care services. We spoke to Healthwatch Lancashire to find out how patients felt about changes that were made to a nearby hospital.

How did the issue come about?

After a series of inspections at the Royal Lancaster Infirmary in 2013 and 2014 by the Care Quality Commission (CQC), one ward at the hospital was deemed an area of concern. University Hospitals Morecambe Bay NHS Foundation Trust then made a number of improvements in response to these findings. We were invited to speak to patients at the hospital to find out whether these improvements had resulted in a better experience for them.

What did people tell you?

We visited the Royal Lancaster Hospital for six consecutive days, at different times, to speak to patients and families about their experience of the hospital. Although the visit highlighted many positive comments, there were also recurring issues relating to treatment, care and poor communication with patients.

What happened as a result?

We summarised what we found in a report which was shared with the Morecambe Bay NHS Foundation Trust and the Chief Executive, Chairman and staff at the Royal Lancaster Infirmary. Our findings were well received and as a result University Hospitals Morecambe Bay NHS Trust has already made a number of improvements.

The hospital has already implemented the following changes:

  • Name boards have been introduced for better communication. They include details on the patient, consultant, nurse and any patient needs that should be taken into consideration, such as dietary requirements and fall risks.
  • A review of staffing has been undertaken to ensure there is sufficient staff cover over the full week.
  • With our help, new posters have been produced and displayed across the hospital with information on how patients and families can raise concerns and make a complaint.
  • A ‘Sleep Well’ campaign to improve sleep for tents on Ward 39 has been launched.

As a result of our work, we were shortlisted at the North West Coast Research and Innovation Awards in the category for Research and Innovation. We were the smallest organisation in the shortlist so this feels like an amazing compliment, not just for Healthwatch Lancashire, but because it acknowledges the role that local Healthwatch have in helping to improve care services for local residents.

What do you plan to do next?

Since March 2015, we have received positive comments from members of the public on their experience of Royal Lancaster Infirmary. We are planning to re-visit the hospital at the request of University Hospitals Morecambe Bay NHS Foundation Trust, to identify improvements on the ward.

Read Healthwatch Lancashire's full report