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Archived: Barnet Hospital

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Inspection report

Date of Inspection: 27, 28, 30 January 2014
Date of Publication: 1 March 2014
Inspection Report published 01 March 2014 PDF | 111.91 KB


Inspection carried out on 27, 28, 30 January 2014

During a routine inspection

We carried out inspections of the hospital over a three day period and were accompanied by three specialist advisors, a pharmacist inspector and a team of ten inspectors. We visited the accident and emergency department (A&E), the Acute Assessment Unit, four in-patient wards (Beech, Larch, Walnut and Olive) and the operating theatre suite. We inspected an additional four wards, Clinical Decisions Unit (CDU), Galaxy, Rowan, and Palm, and outpatients in respect of the arrangements in place for medicines management. We spoke separately with the Head of Patient Engagement and staff from the Patient Advice and Liaison Service (PALS) about complaints management in the trust.

At our last inspection of the hospital in May 2013 we had found that the very long delays experienced by a significant number of patients in A&E meant that the planning and delivery of care and treatment did not always meet their needs and ensure their welfare and safety. During the current inspection on 27 January 2014 we found that significant improvement had been made. Although a few patients had spent long periods in the department action was being taken to mitigate the risks to their health and well-being and ensure their stay was as comfortable as possible.

During the inspection we spoke with more than 60 patients and relatives about their experiences of care and treatment in the hospital. The majority of patients and relatives were pleased with the standards of care provided. For example, a patient on Beech ward told us that from the moment they had come arrived at A&E they had been “entirely satisfied and impressed” by the care and treatment they had received. Staff on the wards were said to have “gone out of their way to be helpful and considerate.” Physiotherapists were described as “very good, they know how to speak to people” and “really excellent.” A patient who had just undergone a surgical procedure told us, “I left very reassured as they (staff) made sure I knew what was happening and who was who.” Parents of children we spoke with in paediatric A&E were very positive about their experience describing staff as “fabulous” and having the “patience of saints.”

Patients had mixed views about the quality of meals provided on the in-patient wards but the majority were positive. For example, one patient told us “the food is really very good; there is a good menu choice.” Another patient said, “the menu is fantastic, I’m amazed at the amount of choice, including healthy options.” A few patients considered the meals were “just OK” or not to their liking.

The trust was well-led and responsive to people’s needs. Systems were in place to assess and monitor the quality of service that patients received and ensure care was provided safely and effectively. Systems in place for managing complaints about care and treatment were improving. Action plans were in place to address a backlog of complaints and the quality of responses to complaints had improved. Medicines were managed appropriately. They were stored securely and patients received the medicines they needed at the right time.

However, we identified some shortfalls in record keeping in different areas of the hospital. Some of these related to incomplete records of checks of key equipment used in the care and treatment of patients. In addition, some patient records were not accurately maintained in respect of checks carried out during and after surgery to ensure surgical procedures were conducted safely.