Lessons being learned in Worcestershire from the Stafford Hospital scandal

Tewkesbury Admag: Worcestershire Royal Hospital Worcestershire Royal Hospital

LESSONS learned as a result of the Stafford Hospital scandal are being implemented in Worcestershire.

A report listing a raft of recommendations following the publication of a report by Lord Francis into the hospital – where up to 1,200 more patients died than would normally be expected between 2005 and 2008 – was presented at a meeting of the Worcestershire Health and Wellbeing Board on Tuesday, February 11.

Among the recommendations contained within the report presented at the meeting at County Hall were encouraging staff to report concerns around patient safety and other issues and stricter quality and safety inspections.

The report was presented by clinical commissioner Jo Galloway, who said it should be considered a constantly evolving work in progress.

“This is about continuous improvement,” she said. “It’s about everyone in the organisations being clear about what their role is.

“We need to know where things are going wrong but there are still some fantastic people working in Worcestershire and some fantastic services.”

She added staff should be given as much freedom to raise concerns as possible, saying: “Happy staff make happy patients.”

The report – which is driven by the idea of ‘putting the patient first’ – also recommended increasing links between the medical organisations in the county and increasing the frequency of safety and quality checks.

Associate member for the voluntary and community sector Sally Ellison said it was important lessons were learned from the Stafford Hospital scandal.

“We’ve got to make sure this never happens in Worcestershire,” she said.

But she added she was concerned about the possibility of bureaucracy getting in the way of the effective implementation of the plans.

“I do think there an element of making sure other organisations are able to support this work,” she said.

“I’m an ex-nurse and to me the idea of putting the patient first is quite disappointing because that’s how I was trained in the first place.”

Jo Galloway replied: “In an ideal situation we wouldn’t be having these conversations about putting the patient first but that’s where we are.”

Other recommendations contained in the report include reviewing complaints procedures, introducing twice-annual reviews of staffing levels in the county’s hospitals and reducing the amount of agency nurses used.

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