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Improvements planned at hospital

PUBLISHED: 11:38 26 September 2001 | UPDATED: 10:34 03 March 2010

CHANGES are being made at Ipswich Hospital after a report by Government inspectors today revealed there were not enough staff to help patients at mealtimes so food was being cleared away untouched.

CHANGES are being made at Ipswich Hospital after a report by Government inspectors today revealed there were not enough staff to help patients at mealtimes so food was being cleared away untouched.

In April the hospital was visited by the Commission for Health Improvement which was set up by the Government to make sure patients receive the highest possible quality of care.

Today's report comes out just a day after Ipswich NHS Trust fell short of top marks in the first nationwide assessment of performance in the NHS which looked into patients' views, waiting times and cleanliness.

The two stars it was awarded show that although the hospital is performing well over all it is not consistently hitting the high standards of the top trusts like West Suffolk Hospital which was awarded three stars.

The CHI report, published today, however praised good work including stroke services, an early warning system to detect deep vein thrombosis, handling complaints, A&E services for children, discharge facilities and prevention and treatment of wound infections.

But the it also highlighted problems, and a CHI spokesman said: "Staff at Ipswich Hospital do not always have enough time to spend with patients on essential patient care, such as feeding."

She added that more staff have been recruited and volunteers enlisted to help at mealtimes, but warned: "The hospital needs to clarify who has responsibility for such tasks, and ensure that patient care is not affected."

Management at the Heath Road hospital admit some things need to change, and an action plan drawn up by 50 staff is already being introduced.

Chief executive Peter Morris said: "We see the CHI report as a catalyst for change - just one of many catalysts for change but an important one. The improvements which come from this are what make the process worthwhile.

"But we would also like to encourage serious observers to look at the review on the internet, and see our action plan alongside it, because there is an opportunity there for other organisations to learn from it."

He added: "Everyone can be proud to work here and future members of staff can see this review as an encouragement to come to Ipswich."

About 200 staff and more patients were confidentially interviewed for the report, and he said their comments in the CHI report were a "reasonable reflection" of issues that management already recognised.

The NHS Eastern regional office will monitor the improvements, as will the area's Strategic Health Authority which starts life next April.

But head of nursing Clare Barlow said that monitoring was not needed as they were committed to making the changes in the action plan themselves and that the concern about patient meal times was already being addressed.

See: www.chi.nhs.uk

www.ipswichhospital.org.uk

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