Staff at North Devon District Hospital welcomed the Secretary of State for Health, Jeremy Hunt, yesterday afternoon (2 August).
The visit was a chance for staff at the Trust to talk about the innovative work they have been doing to help patients remain independent and to improve the flow of patients through the Trust’s services. This includes:
- How the Trust’s health and social care community teams working together with hospital teams have helped reduce the average length of stay in hospital by one day and have reduced the number of stays longer than 14 days by 15%.
- How in the first year of our domiciliary care service, Devon Cares, the number of delayed transfers of care have reduced by 25% and there are generally fewer than five unfulfilled packages at any one time, compared to around 25 when the service launched.
One of the Trust’s ward managers presented the work her team has been doing to promote independence for dementia patients on Fortescue Ward.
Mr Hunt was joined on his visit by Sir Norman Williams, chief clinical advisor. They met with around fifty members of staff from many clinical areas, including nurses, doctors, therapists and social care staff.
During the visit, Mr Hunt spoke to staff about patient safety. He said patient safety was a key focus for the health service and spoke of how important it is for the NHS to be open and learn from mistakes.
Dr Alison Diamond, chief executive of Northern Devon Healthcare NHS Trust, said: “The visit was a great opportunity for the Trust to show what we are doing to put patient safety first.
“We believe patients are safest in their own homes and it was fantastic to be able to share the work we are doing, both with our integrated health and social care services and with our community partners, to keep people independent and prevent admissions.
“It was also a great opportunity to talk about the improvements we have made for patients who are admitted to our hospitals, from preventing falls, to ensuring patients on our dementia ward remain independent.”
Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt said:
“It was excellent to meet staff at Northern Devon Healthcare NHS Trust in Barnstaple today. Staff should be rightly proud of the care they give to their local community, underpinned by a commitment to a culture of learning and improving.
“In particular, treating patients holistically to reduce their length of stay in hospital – recognising that in most cases the safest place for a person who needs care is in their own home. Keep up the good work.”
This is the second high-profile visit the Trust has received in as many months, with Minister of State for Health, Philip Dunne, meeting doctors and nurses at NDDH on 6 July. Mr Dunne praised staff’s dedication to patient care and quality improvement, and said he was impressed by the range of initiatives underway at the Trust to address workforce challenges and improve collaborations with local partners.