WHHT - Annual Report 06/07 - Patient Focus

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Annual Report 2006-2007: Patient Focus

on a journey to success

Patient Focus and Involvement

To ensure that patients continue to be involved and receive an experience that not only meets but also exceeds their physical and emotional needs and expectations, the Trust has developed a Patient Involvement & Experience Strategy in consultation with patients, carers, Trust staff, PCT colleagues, and external bodies. In doing so, the Trust seeks to support ongoing, meaningful involvement and engagement in its work and services.

Infection Control and the Patient Environment Reducing C. difficile Infections in the Hospital

The Trust has established a research project using a Bowel Management System to assess its effectiveness in reducing the spread of C. difficile spores and infection within the hospital. The project, being led by Prof. Ramsay, Medical Director, has received Department of Health funding.

The Facilities team has joined forces with Infection Control in the battle against hospital-acquired infections by introducing Chlor-Clean. This was introduced to high-risk areas at the beginning of September 2006 and continues to roll out across the Trust. Historically, isolation cleaning has required two cleans, one with detergent followed by chlorine disinfection, however this has not always worked adequately in the past as chlorine and detergent cannot be mixed. Chlor-clean has been developed to solve this problem. This not only reduces the time taken to perform the cleaning process but also improves the efficiency of the disinfection at the same time.

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Steamplicity food was introduced at Watford General Hospital in December 2005, with excellent patient feedback. The Steamplicity system allows patients to choose their meal up to an hour before service. The meal is then transported to the ward where it is steam cooked and served to the patient piping hot. The steam cooking method allows the food to retain its nutritional value and appetising presentation.

Patient Environment Action Teams the Facilities Department continue to do monthly iPEAT inspections on all sites. This system, combined with the monitoring results from wards and departments, has shown an improvement in cleaning standards. The iPEAT visits include patient representatives and cover clinical areas, public spaces and the exterior of our hospitals. The newly installed Telephonetics system, affectionately known as Vera, offers an automatic answering service that increases the time calls are answered in from 75%-85% in 30 seconds to 100% within four seconds.

Voluntary Services Department

Each week hundreds of volunteers give their time to support the Trust in a wide variety of ways, from helping in outpatients, running the hospital library service, providing volunteer driving services and offering clerical help.

The Women's Royal Voluntary Service (WRVS) and the Leagues of Friends also provide invaluable services and support to the hospitals. Pat Schofield and Vivienne Payne, the Trust's Voluntary Services Managers, are always looking for extra pairs of
hands. If you'd like to know more please contact:

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Patients Give their Views

The Healthcare Commission's National Inpatient Survey for 2006 highlighted that improvements had been made since the 2005 survey in areas such as waiting lists, hospital food, hand washing and the quality of patient information. The Trust's Chief Nurse is leading the work to address weaknesses found in the survey in areas such as noise at night from hospital staff, cleanliness of wards and bathrooms, patient information, communication and pain management.

The Patients' Panel

The Patients' Panel continues to work with the Trust to add an additional dimension to ongoing patient involvement. This year the Panel has been involved in many local surveys, including one about hand-washing. Jessie Winyard, Chair of the Patients' Panel, said: "It has been heart-warming how the Panel has been accepted throughout the Trust and we welcome and value the continued need for our services."


Over the past year, the Quality Assurance Department has received 380 formal complaints, together with 254 informal complaints, queries and questions. Overall compliance against the response time of 20/25 working days is 74% against the standard of 85%, which whilst is an increase on our overall performance last year, continues to be a challenge for the organisation.

Of the 380 formal complaints received and responded to, 24 were re-opened and further investigated. Thirty-five meetings were held with patients and staff within the Trust in order to further resolve concerns raised. During the year, we have also received 17 requests from the Healthcare Commission where complainants have asked for an independent review of their concerns.

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Download a copy of the Trust's Annual Report:
pdf icon 2006/07 Annual Report

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