WEEKEND care at St Richard’s Hospital has been praised by a health watchdog as ‘highly commended’.
Western Sussex Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, which runs St Richard’s as well as Southlands Hospital in Shoreham and Worthing Hospital, was one of only 12 nationally to receive the praise from Dr Foster Intelligence, a major provider of healthcare information in England.
Chief executive of Dr Foster, Tim Baker, visited the trust to make the award.
“It is so important for communities to have a great service, not just Monday to Friday, but at the weekend as well,” he said. “We should celebrate the work that has been done at this trust – it is a terrific team effort.”
Marianne Griffiths, chief executive of Western Sussex Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, said: “It reflects well on everyone working here, from the people keeping our hospitals clean, to our great housekeeping staff, to our doctors and nurses, and I would like to congratulate them for their achievement.”
She added: “It is essential for our patients that we reduce the chances of them being readmitted into hospital. We are working closely with our partners to do just that – we are going in the right direction, but we are not there yet. There are still times where it is difficult for us to provide the services at the weekend that we would like to, but we will focus on that relentlessly to get it right for our patients.”
A spokesman for the trust said it had seen a ‘significant reduction’ in the number of patients needing to be readmitted to hospital within 28 days of discharge, having initially been admitted at a weekend.
In 2011/12, 12.6 per cent of trust patients admitted on Saturday or Sunday, were then readmitted within 28 days of discharge.
In 2012/13 that figure had fallen to 11.7 per cent, prompting the commendation from Dr Foster.
The spokesman added the progress was maintained between April to September of 2013, with the figure at 10.8 per cent.
“This improvement suggests good decision-making by staff, and good co-operation between clinical teams, even at the weekends when the range of services available is more limited than during the working week,” he said.
He added weekend care was managed more effectively thanks to a number of NHS trusts working together under the One Call One Team project.
Fewer people were admitted into hospitals when there were ‘better alternatives’ available, he said, such as community nursing, dementia teams or consultants specialising in elderly care.