News round-up: Estates and facilities management

TRANSPORT: Shake-up needed in Scottish patient transport system, watchdogs claim

WATCHDOGS have called for a shake-up of the NHS patient transport system in Scotland in a bid to improve the service and save money. The Audit Scotland report, entitled Transport for health and social care, found that poor planning is wasting money and leading to unnecessary hospital admissions and missed or late appointments. And there is scope for widespread improvements and savings through better co-ordination between bodies such as NHS health boards and local authorities, it claims. Auditor general, Robert Black, said: “Well-organised transport can make a positive difference to people needing help with getting to and from hospital appointments and services like day centres. Delays and confusion about arrangements can cause distress and anxiety and lead to people not getting the most out of the care services that are being provided. All partners involved in transport for health and social care need to work together to improve the way these services operate.”

SECURITY: ‘Discreet’ guards to be employed at Norfolk hospital trust

QUEEN Elizabeth Hospital Kings Lynn NHS Foundation Trust in Norfolk has invited tenders for a ‘discreet’ security force which will improve safety at the hospital. Currently day-to-day security is currently provided by the porters, but the trust is aiming to improve security to protect patients, visitors and staff at all times. A spokesman for the hospital said: “A lot of hospitals have security staff, but we never have had. The job is out to tender and we’re expecting to have guards in place by Christmas. They are going to be discreet, not big, burly guys in flak jackets. We don't want people to walk in here and think ‘this must be a rough place, why have they got so many security guards?’.”

INFECTION CONTROL: Kettering hospital turns poor infection control record around

KETTERING General Hospital NHS Foundation Trust has completely turned its infection rates around, going from the worst in the country in 2006 to one of the best in the past year. The hospital is now one of just 25 trusts to have no recorded cases of MRSA between June 2010/11, and it recorded just 55 cases of C. difficile compared to 185 in 2007. Pam Howe, the trust’s lead nurse for infection prevention and control, said: “This is a tribute to the enormous amount of work staff have put into infection prevention and control.” Liz Libiszewski, director of nursing and quality, added: “I want to say a big thank you to all the staff for this significant achievement. Also thank you to all the patients and relatives who have helped by remembering to do important things like washing their hands.”

CATERING: Fry-ups removed from menus at Barnsley Hospital

BARNSLEY Hospital NHS Foundation Trust has removed fried breakfasts from its menu following a catering review. Patients will now have a healthier choice of breakfast cereal, fruit, toast and jam, a roll and porridge, although ‘traditional’ items will still be available to patients who need extra nutrition. Debby Horbury, matron of general surgery at the trust, said: “The most popular breakfast choices for our patients are porridge and cereal, so the new menu will mean little change for them. More importantly patients we identify as needing further nutritional support by the dietetic team will continue to receive the additional breakfast items and will be unaffected by the menu changes.” Bernie Baxter, head of catering, added: “The new menu will be a healthier option for many of the hospital patients and will reduce waste and save money.”

UTILITIES: Probe begins into cause of four-hour powercut at Peterborough hospital

AN INVESTIGATION has been launched into the cause of a power cut that left Peterborough City Hospital without electricity for more than four hours last week. Peterborough and Stamford Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust declared a major incident and diverted emergency calls to neighbouring hospitals during the failure. The hospital’s generator is thought to be at fault, kicking in when the hospital experienced a ‘momentary dip in voltage’ but not switching back off, generating too much power. Rowena Barnes, the trust's chief operating officer, said: “There were no patient transfers out of the hospital. Ten additional staff were bought in to help move patients and manage the situation. Patient safety has not been compromised at any point and it remains the trust’s highest priority.”

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