An unannounced inspection at a Norwich hospital has found that it is meeting essential standards in patient safety and quality of care.

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Last year the Care Quality Commission (CQC) raised concerns around dignity and nutrition and the keeping of patients’ records at both the Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital and the James Paget University Hospital in Gorleston.

The hospitals were told to improve and the N&N set up its own audits, which are carried out by governors, as well as representatives from independent patients’ groups and organisations like Age UK.

Now a routine inspection by the CQC has highlighted how these audits are used daily to check standards of care for patients and have led to improvements in key areas, such as how patients who need extra help are well supported during meal times.

The report said: “Throughout the observation of the meal time process, we noted the correct support offered to those people who required it. Suitable meals were delivered, choices were offered and staff sat with people to encourage and support them. The comments received after the meal were very positive. We were told how much the meals had improved and the choices were good.”

In one case a person was being praised and encouraged to eat unaided for the first time since a stroke, which had left them blind. Another patient who had slipped into an awkward position in bed was helped into a more upright position, which was done with respect to their dignity by closing the curtain, and which made it easier for them to eat. Inspectors said these cases showed staff understood the needs of the patients.

The surprise inspection was carried out on October 3, and looked at five outcomes: consent to care and treatment, care and welfare of people who use services, co-operating with other providers, cleanliness and infection control and staffing.

N&N chief executive Anna Dugdale said: “We are very pleased that the CQC inspectors found that we meet all the essential standards of quality and safety. We would like to thank our staff who work extremely hard to give the best possible care to all of our patients. Our challenge now is to ensure that we maintain and build on the high standards we set ourselves across all areas of patient care.”

The report also noted that the hospital was experiencing significant emergency demand at the time of the inspection, which also looked at the N&N’s accident and emergency department.

Inspectors said in their report: “We observed three people who were waiting for a vacant bay, and saw that on the day of the inspection paramedics were waiting for about an hour.

“Staff in this department explained to both the person waiting and the attending paramedic the reasons for the delay.”

A copy of the report is available online at www.nnuh.nhs.uk

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