Inspectors give hospital a clean bill of health

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An unannounced annual check-up on one of the Lothians’ most important hospitals has been welcomed as “a very positive inspection”.

A report by the Healthcare Environment Inspectorate (HEI) issued this week on NHS Lothian’s St John’s Hospital found no major issues that need addressed.

The “good report card” comes amid continued political argument over the extent to which future cuts could affect local NHS services, with millions needing to be saved over the next four years.

Last month Lothians MSP Neil Findlay argued waiting time targets could be under threat because of a cash squeeze, while Linlithgow MSP Fiona Hyslop accused him of talking down NHS services locally.

But while the argument over resources continues, the inspectors delivered what amounts to a glowing report on a key frontline local service.

Speaking of the report, Claire Sweeney, interim sirector of quality assurance for Healthcare Improvement Scotland, said: “This was a very positive inspection of St John’s Hospital in Livingston. The patient environment was clean and well maintained.

“Reusable patient equipment was clean and in good repair, and staff were adhering to standard infection control precautions.”

In one section ward staff told inspectors they had a good working relationship with the infection prevention and control team, who they can access seven days a week.

During their tour the inspectors also saw NHS Lothians’ ‘Tell us ten things’ patient questionnaire, which asks patients on wards for their views and experience of the service – including their opinion on the cleanliness of the hospital.

The inspection report concludes: “We were told that results are reviewed and forwarded to the senior charge nurses for their information and to circulate to ward staff.

“Staff said the patient questionnaire is a positive approach to receiving communication from patients, visitors and staff.

“During the inspection, we found a variety of infection prevention and control patient information leaflets displayed in wards and the hospital entrance.

Staff told us they can access leaflets in different languages from the infection prevention and control team.

“NHS Lothian told us that local patient information leaflets are developed in consultation with the infection control committee’s patient and public representatives to make sure the leaflets are clear and easy to understand.”

However, some improvement was called for in the way ward information displays for patients, staff and visitors are handled, as some were found “not clear or easy to understand”.

NHS Lothian’s self-assessment states that following a previous HEI inspection, it is now working with Health Improvement Scotland to improve the information displayed within public areas.

Crucially for the hospital’s administration, the inspection had no recommendations to make, meaning no priority actions have to be taken to address faults.