Healthwatch County Durham had been informed by a local MP and members of the public that they believed the ward Ward 6 at Bishop Auckland hospital was going to be closed and that in the future County Durham and Darlington NHS Foundation Trust wanted to treat more people at home via the district nursing teams rather than in the existing hospital ward environment.
A work plan request was submitted to Healthwatch to undertake some independent patient engagement and produce a report of their findings, regarding experiences of Ward 6. In March 2019 it was agreed that Healthwatch would work with patients and the public during May/June 2019 to determine what was important to them about the care they had received and if there were other support mechanisms that might have helped them with their recuperation.
Based on what patients told us we have the following recommendations for the Trust to consider:
- We recommend the step-down model of care is retained as it enables nursing staff to ensure the assessments of patient needs are appropriate and allows for any adjustments to be made before discharge ensuring patients are safe when they return home or to other residential settings
- That as part of the recuperation process the Trust takes the opportunity to offer all appropriate therapeutic support to patients both as an inpatients and within the community
- To continue delivering holistic support - to coordinate support from a number of sources including families, charities and health and social care agencies
- The Trust should look at the extended length of time some patients are staying on the ward to see if there are steps they could take to reduce this, where appropriate
- Using the comments made by patients completing the survey to help shape future services
Healthwatch believes there are important lessons to be learnt from the way in which the Trust initiated its’ engagement process and we continue to be committed to work with the Clinical Commissioning Groups and Trust to ensure that patients and the public in County Durham (and Darlington) are given every opportunity to share their valuable views and experience.