Healthwatch Lancashire visit reports remarkable service improvements at Royal Lancaster Infirmary

20th July 2016

Healthwatch Lancashire have visited the Lancaster Suite at Royal Lancaster Infirmary for the second time in just over twelve months and recognised a considerable improvement to the service provided for patients.

Healthwatch Lancashire undertook an unannounced Enter and View visit to the Lancaster Suite, previously known as Ward 39, on 19th May 2016 with the findings showing that a number of changes from the previous visit have been upheld and staff commented to say that they “can see a big difference” in the ward.

As a result of Healthwatch Lancashire’s findings from their ‘Patient Journeys’ Project, in February 2015, University Hospitals of Morecambe Bay NHS Foundation Trust said that they would be making changes in the following five areas to Ward 39:

  • Introduction of name boards to include patient name, name of consultant, name of nurse and any individual or specific needs.
  • New displays were to be designed and developed in association with Healthwatch Lancashire to inform how patients, carers, relatives can raise concerns or make complaints.
  • A ‘Sleep Well’ campaign was to be launched on Ward 39.
  • A review of staffing over seven days was to be undertaken to ensure staffing is sufficient over the full week.
  • Reiteration of the professional responsibilities of all staff when caring for patients.

The recent Enter and View visit saw the Healthwatch Lancashire team speak to the patients, staff, friends and family members about their views on the changes made in these five areas that were highlighted as requiring improvement during the previous visit.

Healthwatch Lancashire have published their report which includes a number of further actions University Hospitals of Morecambe Bay NHS Foundation Trust will be making to improve the experience of patients. The report can be downloaded here

Sheralee Turner-Birchall, Healthwatch Lancashire Chief Officer, said: “We would like to thank University Hospitals of Morecambe Bay NHS Foundation Trust for their response to our report and commend them on the improvements that have been made to the ward we visited.”

Sue Smith, Executive Chief Nurse, University Hospitals of Morecambe Bay NHS Foundation Trust, said: “We truly value the visits that Healthwatch Lancashire carry out as they not only give us assurance on the improvements we are making but also highlight opportunities for us to make further changes that will in turn, make the experience patients and families get in our hospitals even better.”

“We are pleased the team could see the improvements staff in the Lancaster Suite have made since the last visit in February 2015, and have developed an action plan to address all the areas that have been highlighted as needing further work. We would like to thank the Healthwatch Lancashire team for taking the time to visit our hospital on behalf of the local community, and will keep them informed as we make the relevant changes.”

The Patient Journeys Project in 2015 was shortlisted for a national Healthwatch Network Awards and a North West Coast Research and Innovation Award and involved following group of patients to listen to their experiences during a full week on Ward 39.

The recent visit was part of Healthwatch Lancashire’s innovative programme of ‘Enter & View’ which delivers a ‘mum’s test’ approach to gathering views of service users, relatives and staff to provide an answer to the question: “Would you want your loved ones to be cared for in this service?”

Click here to read the Enter and View report