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St George's Healthcare NHS Trust - Tooting site

  • Blackshaw Road, Tooting, London, SW17 0QT

Type of service

Assessment or medical treatment for persons detained under the Mental Health Act 1983, Diagnostic and/or screening services, Family Planning services, Maternity and midwifery services, Services for everyone, Surgical procedures, Termination of pregnancy, Treatment of disease, disorder or injury

Local Authority Area

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People should get safe and coordinated care when they move between different services (outcome 6)

Meeting this standard

Our latest report on this standard published on 13 July 2011

We inspected on 6 May 2011 during a routine inspection

We checked that people who use this service:

  • Receive safe and coordinated care, treatment and support where more than one provider is involved, or they are moved between services.

How this check was done

We reviewed all the information we hold about this provider, carried out a visit on 06/05/2011, checked the provider's records, observed how people were being cared for, looked at records of people who use services, talked to staff, reviewed information from stakeholders and talked to people who use services.

Our judgement

The hospital has an ongoing programme of work to improve people’s discharge experience, including the integration of community services into the trust. The people we spoke to had a positive experience of being discharged, but other evidence suggested that this was not the case for all people.

Overall, we found that St George's Healthcare NHS Trust, Tooting site was meeting this essential standard.

What people who use the service experienced and told us

We met with people who were ready for discharge and waiting in a dedicated discharge area. People told us that their discharges had been planned in advance and all the necessary arrangements had been made.

A pharmacist was working in the discharge area to ensure that people were discharged with the correct medication, and that they understood what they were taking. Staff said that all people received information on their medication and a helpline number for any queries afterwards.

We saw that the ‘Walk-in Centre’ – which was short-staffed due to sickness - was contacting people’s GPs, or encouraging people who use the service to do so, to arrange appointments.

Other evidence

Staff on the wards told us that they worked closely with community services to make sure that people continued to receive the care and treatment they needed when they returned home. We saw the process for discharge which includes a checklist and the involvement of the person being discharged.

We spoke to care home managers who said that communication with the discharge coordinators at the hospital was good and that this facilitated good discharge arrangements. They said that the services are well coordinated, and that when equipment is required it is supplied in good time for discharge.

Wandsworth LINk (Local Involvement Network) carried out a survey in December 2010 which found that many people interviewed said that their discharge from a hospital in Wandsworth (including St George’s Hospital) had been unsatisfactory because of delays, lack of communication with the person and their carer or between staff, or because of co-ordination between the hospital and community health services or social care providers. Evidence from the trust showed that this had been identified as an issue, and actions had been taken to improve people’s experience, and make the process more effective.

Staff told us that people could experience long waiting times in the phlebotomy department at particular times of day. As a result, the department have introduced a system to avoid unnecessary delays; we saw that waiting times are now displayed so that people can return during a quieter period. When we visited the department during the afternoon the waiting times were minimal. The head of the phlebotomy department told us that they are working with local GP practices to encourage them to develop services there that are more localised for people, to avoid unnecessary trips to the hospital to have blood taken.

The trust took over a number of Wandsworth’s community services in October 2010. Staff said this has led to a more integrated approach to the provision of services across the trust. Staff told us that there is a working group leading on improvements to discharge arrangements. They said that progress has been made, and the co-ordination of discharge has improved, particularly in communication with multidisciplinary teams.

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