South Scotland

Borders General Hospital elderly care report finds 'positive shift'

Elderly care Image copyright Thinkstock
Image caption Services for elderly people in the Borders have been criticised in the past

An inspection of care for older people at Borders General Hospital has found changes are being delivered in the wake of a number of critical reports.

Healthcare Improvement Scotland found a "positive shift" at NHS Borders.

In the past the health board has had to apologise for staff showing "no care or compassion" to a dementia patient.

NHS Borders welcomed the report and said it showed the steps which had been taken to tackle previous problems and also areas were work was still needed.

The inspection was carried out in April this year and identified eight areas of good practice plus 12 recommendations for improvements.

Among its key findings were:

  • NHS Borders is becoming open to, and enthusiastic about, change and improvement
  • There is visible leadership with a clear direction of travel
  • Communication and governance structures between the wards and the board are strong
  • Senior staff have a good understanding of data and information but there is still work to do in sharing information across all service areas
  • Staff and patient representatives are very engaged with the new complaints process
  • NHS Borders has addressed a number of the concerns identified in previous reviews
  • Patients are treated with "compassion, dignity and respect" and are "mostly positive" about their care
  • Arrangements to manage mealtimes for patients are variable and need to improve
  • The approach to documentation needs to improve to ensure consistency.

The review was undertaken at the request of NHS Borders chief executive Jane Davidson.

"I took this step because as an organisation we are committed to providing good quality care, and as a direct result of the complaint reported on by the Scottish Public Sector Ombudsman," she said.

"The observations of the inspectors provide us with an independent, robust view of the quality of care we provide.

"They help us to understand where our improvement work should be focused so that we can do more and better for our patients."

Report reaction

Image copyright NHS Borders
Image caption John Raine said the report was recognition of ongoing work to improve care for the elderly
  • Director of nursing, midwifery and acute services at NHS Borders Evelyn Rodger said: "This robust and rigorous review has illustrated the steps that have been taken to improve the care we provide to older people, based on learning from previous inspections, reports and patient feedback, particularly complaints."
  • Medical director Andrew Murray said: "Through our quality assurance reviews and safety meetings, both identified as areas of good practice in the report, our staff continue to work hard to address any issues with care as they arise, so that they can be rectified and followed up immediately. I would like to thank the staff for their ongoing commitment and care."
  • NHS Borders chairman John Raine said: "This report is encouraging, constructive and helpfully identifies the areas in which there is scope for improvement. The recognition of our ongoing work around leadership and governance as an area of good practice, and the change to an increasingly person-centred culture is endorsed by the positive feedback gathered by the inspectors from patients, families and carers."

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