Hospital care among best in the country

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HOSPITAL care in Northumberland has been rated among the best in the country for cancer and stroke.

Northumbria Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust was ranked fourth in the Cancer Patient Experience Survey out of more than 160 trusts nationwide, while the Stroke Improvement National Audit Programme (SINAP) marked it in the top quartile.

Its performance in the cancer patient survey is up two places on last year’s result.

The survey aims to measure the experience of patients while being treated in hospital, with questions about whether they felt involved in decisions about their care, their confidence in the doctors and nurses treating them and whether they were treated with privacy, dignity and respect.

The trust has specialist cancer teams at a number of hospitals, including Wansbeck, and last year staff from its community cancer team won a regional innovation award for introducing a specially designed straw to enable patients to take their drinks more easily.

Trust Chief Executive Jim Mackey said: “Delivering a first class patient experience is a top priority for us and we’re delighted that the people we’ve looked after with cancer have given us such excellent feedback.

“These results are testament to the hard work, commitment and compassion of all our doctors and nurses caring for cancer patients every single day. I would like to thank each and every one of them for going the extra mile to deliver exceptional care at what can often be a particularly distressing time for patients and their families.”

The SINAP scheme is run by the Stroke Programme at the Royal College of Physicians and assesses care provided to patients in their first three days in hospital.

The audit covers access to life-saving scans and drugs and the time taken to be assessed by a specialist multi-disciplinary team, including a stroke consultant.

The Northumbria trust, which has dedicated stroke units at Wansbeck, Hexham and North Tyneside hospitals, as well as rehabilitation services in Alnwick and Berwick, came in the top quartile for the first quarter of the financial year.

Head of Stroke Services Dr Stuart Huntley said: “These excellent results show that the services we provide for our patients are among the best in the country and we are delivering a consistently high standard of care at our hospitals.

“They are testament to the hard work and enthusiasm of our teams who are committed to providing high quality patient-focussed care.”