Watchdog tells N&N to improve patient dignity following inspection

Bosses at the Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital have been urged to take action to improve the privacy and dignity of vulnerable patients following an inspection by the health watchdog.

Inspectors from the Care Quality Commission said that not all patients were treated with respect when they observed wards on December 2 and 3 where they focused on the care of people with dementia.

The Colney hospital was found to be meeting standards in four out of five areas, but was told to produce an action plan by April 2.

However, Anna Dugdale, chief executive, said a number of measures had been put into place to make sure patients are treated with dignity, including the recruitment of three dementia support workers.

In a report, the CQC said that general observations showed that 'staff were kind, polite and patient. However, we did observe various instances where people's dignity was compromised.'

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Inspectors said there were incidents where a patient was walking around with their catheter bag clearly on view around their ankle, a person walking around the ward with their back and buttocks exposed, and a female patient who was on top of their bed with their nightgown around their waist and leg where staff did not take action to protect their dignity.

However, the CQC said the hospital had addressed concerns raised last year about the slow discharge of patients in their care. They added that the failure to respect patients only posed a 'minor' impact on users of services.

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Mrs Dugdale said: 'We are pleased that the CQC has recognised the improvements we have made since their last visit. We understand that the CQC are beginning a new round of inspections focused on the care of patients with dementia and we were happy to be selected as one of the first hospitals to benefit from the insight of their specialist dementia inspectors. 'The report identifies a number of opportunities to improve our communication with patients, particular issues around preserving the dignity of our most vulnerable patients and the consistency of the care we provide. The report acknowledges recent improvements and learning and we are pleased that the CQC have concluded that we are fully compliant on four of their outcomes with 'minor' improvements to make.'

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