Grantham Journal column: Ward accreditation scheme helps us to improve our care

John Boulton, Grantham Hospital matron
John Boulton, Grantham Hospital matron
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Delivering high-quality and appropriate care to our patients is our number one priority.

We are always looking to learn, adapt and improve, and one of the newer ways we are doing this is by introducing a ward accreditation scheme, which has been used by high-performing NHS organisations.

The scheme focuses on engaging staff and empowering leaders to improve standards and quality on adult in-patient wards. It means that, as a patient, you can be assured you are receiving the best standards of care while in hospital.

Wards are assessed against 13 standards, set by the organisation and scored based on their compliance with these standards.

The standards include: infection prevention, nutrition, medicines management and deterioration.

These are divided into the five domains laid out by the Care Quality Commission (CQC):

Safe

Caring

Effective

Responsive

Well-led

Wards progress through red, amber and green status, as they achieve their standards for consistent practice and performance.

Once a ward can evidence sustaining green assessment level for two years or three consecutive assessments, they may apply for blue full accreditation.

This is a great initiative that we are all really excited to implement. It not only helps to recognise the great work our staff are doing every day, it also is another big opportunity to learn from each other. In addition, it ensures that the standards of practice are the same across the organisation.

As the end of the summer holidays draws near, winter is never far from our minds. Our A&E departments have been busy, and, during the colder months, we know they are going to get even busier.

Sometimes, A&E is the best and only option, but there are other health services on hand should you need to seek help or advice. Think: do I really need to go to A&E?

Ensuring your home first aid kit and medicine cabinet are fully stocked with painkillers, plasters and other essentials can really help but, if you really think you need expert advice, why not try your local pharmacy, GP out-of-hours or call NHS 111. All of these services are there to provide confidential advice on best courses of treatment.