Trust’s response regarding the report published by Healthwatch Sandwell

22nd February 2016

Toby Lewis, Chief Executive of Sandwell & West Birmingham Hospitals NHS Trust, said “We welcome the feedback from Healthwatch Sandwell based on interviews with 11 patients or carers in August 2015. We are disappointed to hear about the concerns raised and would like to apologise to the individuals whose care did not meet their expectations.

We note the very many positive views about care reflected in the report, through the friends and family test and through our own feedback systems. We have no concerns about the safety of the care provided at Sandwell, but do want to work to improve the ways in which we involve carers in the care we offer.

In September 2015 our own monitoring systems identified concerns about care in one particular ward at Sandwell. That ward was closed because we felt we were no longer able to staff that ward to the standard we pride ourselves on. In the last six months we have seen improvements in our substantive staffing levels including reductions in the numbers of nurse vacancies across the wards at Sandwell Hospital. That provides a basis for confidence in care, alongside the data that we evaluate about what we do.

We do remain concerned by the large number of extra beds open at Sandwell this winter, which place additional pressure on all clinicians, and increase our reliance on temporary staff. The health and social care system must explore why projects to prevent admissions have failed over the last 12 months and why, in spite of the Better Care Fund, demand on the hospital is rising.

End of life care in our Trust was rated Good by the Care Quality Commission. We always welcome feedback from patients and carers so that we continue to improve the standards of care that patients receive. In the last year our complaints system has changed significantly with swifter responses and in the way that we ensure real change happens as a result.

We have invited Healthwatch Sandwell to repeat their study in summer 2016 to test independently whether the work to improve the care experience is reflected in patient feedback. To read our response in full please go to http://www.healthwatchsandwell.co.uk/sites/default/files/response_to_healthwatch_sandwell_report_-_24_02_16.pdf

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Issued by the Communications Department. Tel: 0121 507 5303.