On behalf of the Trust Board and staff working at Gateshead Health NHS Foundation Trust, I am delighted to introduce you to our Quality Account for the year 2020/21, which is an excellent demonstration of the Trust’s continuing commitment to provide safe and effective patient focused care.
This Quality Account details the progress made against our two year objectives within the Quality Improvement Strategy launched in 2019, which has facilitated delivery of the highest standard of care possible, within a strong safety culture, an ethos of shared learning and continuous improvement.
Once again, we have had much to be proud of in terms of our achievements during the last 12 months.
We have continued to make demonstrable improvements in quality and safety whilst facing significant operational challenges, not least our response to the COVID-19 pandemic.
This has required an unprecedented response by the Trust and the wider NHS.
Due to the professionalism, hard work and unfaltering dedication of our staff, the emphasis has remained on providing high quality care to our patients throughout the response and recovery phases of the pandemic.
It goes without saying that some of the planned activities relating to the achievement of the quality priorities have been impacted by COVID-19, and therefore the priorities that remain partially delivered have been rolled over to 2021/22.
With regards to the quality priorities we set ourselves for 2020/21, we performed very well in our priority around the development and implementation of the nationally mandated Medical Examiner Service.
In September 2020 the Medical Examiner service was launched across the organisation, which comprises five Medical Examiners and a Medical Examiner Officer.
A key benefit of the service includes ensuring that the voices and experiences of carers and relatives are actively sought following the death of a loved one, in order to maximise learning, identify necessary actions and to improve on good practice.
One of our Patient Safety priorities was to continue to involve patients and families in patient safety, and the deployment of Family Liaison Officers to patients and/or their families involved in patient safety incidents and complex complaints has been another key success this year.
The Trust has trained 40 members of staff as Family Liaison Officers, and they have successfully supported 69 patients and families since the inception of the service.
A specific quality priority relating to Patient Experience was to reinvigorate the Volunteers’ service.
During 2020/21 the Trust recruited 56 more volunteers for a number of important roles within the organisation.
These included the Patient Experience Volunteers who supported patients to keep in touch with their relatives during the visiting restrictions of the pandemic in addition to keeping patients’ company, reading to them, playing games etc, and the Response Volunteers whose responsibilities include collecting patient medication from pharmacy to support effective discharge and delivering chemotherapy medications to the Tranwell Unit to prevent any delays in patients’ treatment.
I would like to end by thanking and commending all of our staff.
Without their skill, loyalty and commitment we would not be able to achieve such high quality services.
Their dedication and focus remains firmly on ensuring the very best outcomes for our patients.