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Giving local people a voice on health and social care services in County Durham

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Improvements being made to wards following our Enter and View visits


Marianne Patterson, our project lead, recently attended a meeting of the County Durham and Darlington NHS Foundation Trust patient experience forum and was excited to hear a lot of talk about the Enter and View visits our team has carried out at the trust's main hospitals together with Healthwatch Darlington.

These Enter and View visits are an opportunity for patients to speak to us as an independent body about their experiences of services. Jason Cram, associate director of nursing, said our reports and recommendations have been widely discussed at the highest levels, including in the Executive and Clinical Leadership Committee and the Executive Patient Experience and Safety Committee.

Action is already being taken to address some of the issues raised by patients during our visits, including to reduce noise on the wards at night, which some patients told us made it difficult for them to sleep. Jason Cram said this feedback had prompted the trust to initiate an Invest in Rest Charter. He said: "This commits us to ensuring wards offer a restful environment at night and includes some practical steps such as dimming corridor lights, turning down the volume setting on buzzers and phones, ensuring doors have ‘soft close’ hinges and reminding ward teams to keep their voices low."

Other actions already being taken include:

  • one ward at Darlington Memorial Hospital is now looking for ways to better support dementia patients, and to inform other patients about dementia
  • and staff are passing on concerns about meals to the catering team where these were raised by patients

Find out more about our Enter and View visits to hospital wards and doctors surgeries.


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