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June 2016 - Barbara Beadle

The patient walkaround visit of Ward 15, Emergency/Trauma Orthopaedics, was carried out by: Mark Oldham, Director of Finance and Strategic Planning, Mike Davis, Non-executive Director and I, Barbara Beadle, Public Governor, we were supported by Sheila Townsend, Patient Safety Manager.

Prior to the walkaround we discussed incident data including, levels of falls, ulcers, infections and informal or formal complaints about the ward.

We then read notice boards, further information on Health and Safety and compliments the ward had received.

Finally, we assessed the Ward and despite being busy the ward appeared uncluttered, calm and organised.

We met with Sarah Dawson, Ward Manager and she explained to us “Safety” in the context of staffing, for example, the day and evening shifts. The Ward was running with permanent vacancies and ongoing recruitment was taking place. There had been problems with agency nurses failing to turn up for duty. Bank staff were being utilised but there were insufficient numbers for a trauma ward. (Sarah had explained she herself had covered a bay that morning due to the shortages of nursing staff). As an Emergency / Trauma ward patients are normally non mobile and their needs require staff to double up to perform tasks, so further recruitment would help immensely.

Sarah was very well organised. The staff rota was completed one month in advance which enabled staff to identify if they could cover any short staffed shifts. Nurses had the opportunity to cover double shifts, such as 7am – 9.45pm so they could then work fewer days if they wished to, some nurses, especially younger members, took advantage of this to fit with their personal circumstances.

Any Quality or Safety breaches were quickly addressed by the Ward Manager or senior management.  All worries and incidents were quickly reported. The Discharge Coordinator on the Ward was a sign of exemplary and efficient management as it freed up valuable nursing time

We asked several Health Care Assistants and Nurses if they had any worries, surprisingly staffing was low on their agenda although obviously relevant. It was clear to see that Sarah keeps them informed and nothing is hidden.

The staff had no issues reporting problems and expressed an excellent commitment and working atmosphere within the team. Their main concerns regarded equipment. They identified a hoist requiring a new battery and a need for additional sling sizes for the Encore, all necessary to get patients in and out of bed. They complained of insufficient pillows to meet patients’ needs and comfort and not enough mattresses or “fall sensors.” Staff said that more volunteers on the ward to assist with drinks and meal rounds would be welcome.

Sheila discussed the above areas of concern with Divisional Manager, Steven Eames and Head Nurse Sally Mann. Firstly, Sally praised and thanked the staff for their work and commitment. She explained that three new nurses were recruited for Ward 15 on the recent recruitment day and would commence in post within a couple of weeks. Sally listened to the nurses concerns about equipment and explained pillows could be ordered immediately and the battery and sling sizes would be taken forward for action. There is a hospital initiative to have enough “Air beds” available on all wards and she agreed to speak to the Trust’s volunteer manager regarding assistance.

The walkaround was positive, the excellence in management and team work was clearly demonstrated and it was encouraging to see all of the work that is helping to create safer environments and better care for patients.

Although an “outcome of Walkround” report is prepared by Sheila and filed within the Integrated Governance Folder, it is also forwarded as an action plan to the Ward Manager and members of the Divisional Senior Management team who attended the visit. It is then followed up and managed locally within the Division.

As it was my wish to pursue the outcome, I am really pleased to report the following feedback from the Ward.

  1. A replacement hoist battery had been bought for the ward.

  2. The Moving and Handling and Housekeeper have reviewed the Encore hoist slings to ensure that a full range of sizes are available on the ward.

  3. Extra slide sheets were ordered straight away. As a hospital, we are going to audit how many slide sheets we currently have in use, to establish if there is a shortage or if certain wards hoard them.

  4. 32 additional pillows have been delivered to the ward and another Housekeeper has been asked to monitor the situation and if required obtain additional pillows.

  5. The RVS Manager has been asked to review the number of volunteers on the ward who have had training to feed patients and where possible supply more trained volunteers who are happy to assist with feeding. All of the current volunteers carry out drinks rounds. Emma Clark assures me that volunteers will move wards to assist with feeding if a particular ward has a high number of patients who require help. There is a spreadsheet on the S Drive that indicates which volunteers are trained and Sally will ensure staff members know where it is.


My thanks go to the Lead Nurse, Matron and her Team for the above.

 You will agree a successful outcome, enhancing staff and patient comfort and safety.

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