WHHT - Annual Report 04/05

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Annual Report 2004-2005: Our Services

Service Developments

Annual Report 2004-05 Our Services

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Day Surgery update

Laparoscopic Cholecystectomy – removal of the gall bladder – became a day surgery procedure at Watford General Hospital last year. Patients are in the department for around 12 hours where previously, with an ‘open’ operation, they would have had a three-to-five day stay in hospital. District nurses visit patients in hospital the day after their operation and again if the patient and nurse feel it is necessary.

Once, twice, three times a top hospitalscan web

The Trust’s commitment to patients has been officially recognised again with the award of the prestigious 40 Top Hospitals award for the third year running! This independent study included major teaching and regional Trusts. The top 40 hospital Trusts have all been recognised in reaching a high level of performance in an independent study carried out by the country’s leading hospital benchmarking company, CHKS.


Digital imaging in Dermatology

A new local service, which allows GPs to transmit high quality digital images of potential skin cancers to the Consultant Dermatologist, without arranging an outpatient appointment, is ensuring patients receive fast, accurate diagnosis. Potential cancers identified by the process can be fast tracked to a specialist joint dermatology/plastic surgery clinic where the lesion can be excised, reducing the need for outpatient appointments, and fast-tracking potential cancers for treatment.

DEXA service grows

Building on the existing DEXA scanning service – Dual Energy X-ray Absortiometry, or DEXA scanning used to measure bone mineral density – at St Albans City Hospital, the Trust has expanded the service and purchased new, faster equipment, reducing waiting times in line with the Elderly National Service Framework and NICE guidelines.

Housekeepers go from strength to strength

The Trust’s housekeeping service has exceeded all expectations with 30 housekeepers now working within the Trust, helping to ensure that our patients’ stay is as comfortable as possible. Half of the housekeepers have successfully completed a nationally recognised food and hygiene course and work is underway to design a long-term development programme for this vital staff group.

Second birth pool for ABC

Four years on and the Alexandra Birthing Centre and midwifery led care is at an all-time high within the Trust. Almost 4000 women have now given birth at the Centre, and a further 700 at the Hemel Birth Centre. The Trust has one of the largest water birth rates in the country, and now more women can take advantage of this facility with the opening of a second pool.
For the past three years Tony Spicer, from Abbots Langley, has decorated his house with Christmas decorations and, dressed as Father Christmas, raised over £12,000 for a new pool in the process. Thank you!

Dermatology centre opens

Watford’s new Dermatology Department officially opened its doors to patients in March. Decorated in a colour scheme chosen by patients, the waiting areas are light, bright and very welcoming. Many treatments, which only a few years ago meant a stay in hospital, can now be offered to outpatients within the department.

Listening to GP colleagues

GP liaison manager, Fiona Scorer, works to improve communication between primary and secondary care colleagues, ensuring that services offered to west Hertfordshire residents run smoothly. Fiona provides a point of contact where all issues are dealt with efficiently, and she has updated and relaunched an extranet for GPs. For further information contact Fiona Scorer on 01442 287255 or email fiona.scorer@whht.nhs.uk

New CT Scanner for Watford

Radiology at Watford General Hospital took delivery of a new ‘state of the art’ scanner which is a very welcome addition to the department and will benefit those patients referred for CT scans. The 16 slice scanner is of the latest technology with superior image quality and resolution and was funded by the National Opportunities Fund.

State of the art Endoscopy Suite

A state of the art endoscopy suite at Hemel Hemsptead General Hospital, officially opened its doors to patients in March. This unit is equipped to perform gastroscopy, colonoscopy and bronchoscopy

Special reception for surgical patients

A small team of nurses opened the Trust's first surgical admissions lounge at Watford General Hospital last June. The Surgical Admissions Lounge is designed to allow patients to come into hospital on the day of their operation rather than having to spend the night before it in hospital. Feedback from patients has been excellent. During this past year, over 1444 patients have been admitted for surgery through the Lounge. This innovative practice means fewer cancelled operations and a better patient experience, since the majority of patients prefer to come into hospital on the day of their operation.

Fighting Infection – the west Herts way

Promoting the importance of good hygiene is Infection Control Lead Nurse, Jiovanna Foley’s passion. Over the past year she and her team of four nurses, have worked tirelessly to educate staff, patients and the public in how to reduce infection. They led the Trust’s contribution to National Think Clean Day, promoting the importance of hospital cleanliness to staff, patients and visitors. To hear more contact Jiovanna Foley’s team by email jiovanna.foley@whht.nhs.uk

Consultant Nurse in pre-operative assessment

Jane Jackson has been appointed Consultant Nurse in Pre-operative Assessment. Jane has considerable experience in the care of the elective surgical patient, and in 1993 pioneered the nurse-led Pre-operative Assessment Clinic. The clinics see all patients being admitted for in-patient elective surgery prior to admission. For many years, Jane has been a lead in Pre-operative Assessment both within the Trust as well as nationally, being an inaugural member of the Pre-assessment Association.

Bunkers a first for Europe

Mount Vernon Cancer Centre has become the first centre in Europe to install new radiotherapy facilities which can be built up to 17 months faster than by traditional methods. The Centre is working with RAD Technology, a US company specialising in rapid deployment radiation facilities, for the construction and installation of five new radiotherapy treatment rooms. This means these new facilities will be erected in the autumn of this year instead of spring 2007 if we’d gone with the usual method. Each treatment room will be erected at the Mount Vernon site in just five days and will house a pre-installed Varian Medical Systems linear accelerator providing radiation treatment on an outpatient basis.

Hunterian Professorship

Mr Adriaan Grobbelaar, Director of Research at the medical research charity RAFT (The Restoration of Appearance & Function Trust), has been awarded a prestigious Hunterian Professorship by The Royal College of Surgeons of England. RAFT was established in 1988 and is now one of the world's leading research centres in the specialty of burns and reconstructive plastic surgery research.

Celebrating our Success

The first annual Nursing and Midwifery Conference, designed to share and celebrate innovations that have improved patients’ experience was held last summer. Guest speakers included Sarah Mullally, Chief Nursing Officer, Department of Health and Dame Karlene Davis, General Secretary of the Royal College of Midwives.

Trust supports plans for smoke-free NHS

Smoke-free hospitals – inside and out – are on the horizon for the NHS in west Hertfordshire. A smoke-free environment will be better for everyone in many ways. It will reduce litter as well as improving the health of our local communities.

Official launch of Sir Astley Cooper Suite

Hemel Hempstead Hospital’s former Medical Director Mr John Nicholls officially opened the Sir Astley Cooper Suite – the newly refurbished private ward which offers patients who wish to use private facilities the opportunity to do so within an NHS hospital. All revenue generated by the Sir Astley Cooper Suite will be invested in the Trust to develop and improve health services in the local community.

Download a copy of the Trust's Annual Report:

2004/2005 Annual Report

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