Inspectors’ tonic for Sheffield city hospital

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News: Sheffield Telegraph online 24-hours a day.

THE Northern General Hospital is being praised by health watchdogs for its standards of care, treatment and safety.

Inspectors from the Care Quality Commission twice visited the hospital in December, checking four inpatient wards and speaking to staff, patients and families.

“People told us they were satisfied with their care and treatment,” says their report. “People were complimentary about the staff and told us that they well left looked after.

“We observed respectful and positive interactions on the wards between staff and patients. We found that medical and nursing records and risk assessments were in place and clearly recorded.”

Patients felt safe, an “effective” system assessed and monitored the quality of services, people were aware of the system for reporting complaints and there was an awareness of the principles of safeguarding children and vulnerable adults.

One patient said: “I feel safe and in good hands”, another: “If I saw something I didn’t like, I’d tell someone”.

Inspectors visited a geriatric and an orthopaedic ward and two medical assessment units.

Managers at the hospital, which has more than 1,100 beds met all the standards, although some improvements are being suggested.

‘Poor practice around privacy and dignity’ was observed on Hadfield 3, a geriatic ward. “Inspectors witnessed personal care being given to a patient in a bed bay area with the door and curtain left open - this was addressed at the time of our inspection.”.

Concerns about private conversations being overheard by patients were raised on the day.

Most staff who spoke to the inspectors were not aware of the hospital trust’s whistleblowing policy, although they knew information was likely to be available on the trust’s intranet and through organisations such as the Nursing and Midwifery Council.

“We were informed by the governance team that whistleblowing was not covered in the trust’s corporate induction, although there were plans to put this in place and raise the awareness of whistleblowing within the hospital.”

At the time of the inspection,the trust was not meeting the four hour maximum wait for patients to be seen in accident and emergency.

“The figure was 92.95% against a national target of 95% to be seen within four hours.

“We met with the Deputy Chief Operating officer who explained the circumstances behind this low figure and the actions that the trust had in place to improve the performance in 2013.”