Is you accident or illness really an emergency?
15 December 2014
Sherwood Forest Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust is asking people who suffer minor accidents or illness this winter to think about whether they really need to go to the Emergency Department or if they would get more appropriate treatment at another NHS facility.
Hospitals can get especially busy during winter when viruses such as flu and Norovirus are circulating, and slips and trips are common. Choosing the right NHS service will not only help ease the pressure on the Emergency Department staff but may also result in quicker treatment.
Dr Andy Haynes, Executive Medical Director at the Trust, said: "The winter season always leads to extra pressure on our Emergency Department and the Christmas and New Year holidays, even more so.
"If you feel your case is an emergency, then you must attend the Emergency Department. Significant illnesses or injuries such as suspected broken bones, chest pain, blackouts, difficulty breathing or blood loss are classed as emergencies.
"Very minor accidents and illnesses, including bruises, grazes sprains, coughs, colds and sore throats, and young, fit people who have flu or winter vomiting bug. Those suffering these should take advice from their GP, local pharmacist or out of hours service in the first instance."
The GP out of hours service can be accessed during evenings, weekends and bank holidays - ring for an appointment by dialling your usual GP surgery telephone number. The out of hours centre, which is also a 24 hour a day, seven day a week walk in centre, is located alongside the Emergency Department at King's Mill Hospital and is easily recognisable by the Primary Care 24 sign. Local pharmacies can also provide confidential, expert advice and treatment for a range of common illness and complaints.
Dr Haynes continued: "We are also asking people to stay safe during cold snaps. Older adults are at higher risk because they tend to lose body heat more quickly and are more likely to take medications that affect their ability to keep warm. As a result, they are at higher risk from hypothermia, frostbite and other cold weather illnesses and injuries.
"During spells of freezing temperatures, please call or visit older friends, neighbours and loved ones to ensure they have what they need to stay warm and healthy."
Board of Directors meeting - Thursday 18 December 2014
12 December 2014
Members of the public and stakeholders are invited to Sherwood Forest Hospitals' next Board of Directors meeting, taking place at King's Mill Hospital.
The Trust holds Board meetings each month to discuss quality and safety, finances and plans for the future. The meetings are chaired by Sean Lyons, Trust Chairman.
Amongst the topics on this month's agenda are:
- Organ donationsQuality improvement plan
- Monitor quarterly submission feedback letters
- Memorandum of Understanding between Nottingham University Hospitals and Sherwood Forest Hospitals
- Colchester "True for Us" report.
The meeting will be held on Thursday 18 December, 9.30am in Classroom 1, Level 1, King's Mill Hospital, Mansfield Road, Sutton in Ashfield, Notts, NG17 4JL.
A copy of the agenda and papers will shortly be available on the Trust's internet site:
Countdown to Christmas – don't forget your prescriptions
12 December 2014
As the countdown to Christmas continues, Sherwood Forest Hospitals' health experts are advising patients to not leave it too late to get their repeat prescriptions.
Those with long term health conditions such as asthma, diabetes, lung and heart disease, are reminded to ensure they have enough medication to see them through the festive season.
Dr Andy Haynes, Executive Medical Director for the Trust, said: "We want to ensure those with long-term health conditions enjoy Christmas and don't run out of their medicines."
Many GP practices and local pharmacies may be offering reduced opening hours over the Christmas period, and it's important to plan ahead, especially if the winter weather means it's harder for you to get out and about.
Dr Haynes added: "An early call to your GP to ensure you've a repeat prescription or a visit to your high street pharmacy could make all the difference for a happy Christmas. And don't forget that pharmacies can provide useful advice and deal with minor ailments without you having to see your GP about winter bugs like coughs, colds, sore throats and the flu."
In-house immunohistochemistry restarts at the Trust
9 December 2014
Sherwood Forest Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust will recommence in-house immunohistochemistry testing (excluding Breast Hormone receptor testing) at King's Mill Hospital. This is as a result of improvements and progress made within The Trust's histopathology service in the two years since a Care Quality Commission (CQC) review in December 2012 performed by the Royal College of Pathologists (RCPath) and Institute of Biomedical Science (IBMS)
The immunochemistry service at King's Mill Hospital undertakes a range of immunohistochemistry tests to help to diagnose and exclude all types of cancer and since the CQC report two years ago, to ensure patient safety, has been sending these cases for testing to another hospital.
The decision to re-start the service was taken on grounds of quality following a visit by RCPath and the Institute of Biomedical Science (IBMS) in October 2014. During the visit, two members of the original CQC review team were impressed with their visit to the laboratory and were satisfied that the recommendations from their report had been implemented.
Dr Rachael Liebmann, Registrar of the Royal College of Pathologists said:"We were delighted to see for ourselves how enthusiastically the Trust had implemented our recommendations following the inspection in 2012, including crucial improvements to staffing and equipment. We heard from the patients, hospital consultants, quality assurance and breast cancer screening programme leaders that there had been demonstrable improvements to the quality of the pathology service as a result.
"One of the original concerns was that the Trust's governance systems weren't rigorous or robust enough to be able to identify and escalate risks and issues regarding the service. Now, however, the critical work of the laboratory for patient care is clearly supported by the Trust management."
"As a result, the Royal College of Pathologists is satisfied that immunohistochemistry testing can be reintroduced safely at King's Mill Hospital."
Nick Kirk, President, Institute of Biomedical Science said: "It is most encouraging to see the improvements made at Sherwood Forest Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, following the recommendations made in the Royal College's 2013 report. Robust governance systems and strong quality assurance processes are essential for ensuring safe, high quality pathology services and it is reassuring to see the progress made in these areas by the Trust.
"The Royal College's 2013 report raised important questions about the organisation of pathology departments and their workload, and the effectiveness of pathology quality assurance. In order to support pathology services in addressing these issues, the IBMS has produced expert advice and guidance for those responsible for the delivery and safety of pathology services. The Institute will continue to support our members in driving the quality agenda forward; ensuring commissioners, clinicians and the public can be assured of the quality of pathology services and test results."
Dr M Shafiq Gill, Head of Service for Cellular Pathology at Sherwood Forest NHS Foundation Trust said: "We are delighted to hear that the Royal College of Pathologists and the Institute of Biomedical Science team are satisfied with our governance and quality management systems. The cellular pathology team at Sherwood Forest Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust has worked very hard to develop appropriate systems which can ensure a high quality and safe diagnostic service. This has been achieved as a result of collaborative work with colleagues across the Trust, including those within the breast service and clinicians. This is in addition to support and guidance from RCPath, IBMS, East Midlands Breast QARC, and regional pathology departments. We would like to thank all of them for their support. An onsite immunohistochemistry service would mean improved or shorter test result turn-around times for our patients".
The Royal College of Pathologists has a role in laboratory quality assurance through a Joint Working Group which oversees the work of network of National QA Assessment Panels. One of the stipulations of restarting the immunochemistry service at King's Mill is that Sherwood Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust copies reports of their United Kingdom National External Quality Assessment Service (NEQAS) immunohistochemistry performance to the College for the first four cycles following the restarting of the service.
In April 2013, The Care Quality Commission (CQC) published a report into Sherwood Forest NHS Foundation Trust following a detailed inspection to look into concerns about breast cancer hormone test results. The report incorporated specialist input including a review by The Royal College of Pathologists and the IBMS of Cellular Pathology services and quality assurance systems surrounding Sherwood Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust.
As part of the inspection The Royal College of Pathologists was asked to investigate concerns that the treatment of women with breast cancer, between 2004 and 2011, may have been based on incorrect test results. The College team found that this had not been the case but were concerned about some aspects of the management of the Cellular Pathology service responsible for these tests. Recommendations were made regarding laboratory, trust and national approaches to breast cancer hormone receptor testing many of which have already been implemented.
Specialist helps fight the war against hospital infections
9 December 2014
Sherwood Forest Hospitals is benefiting from improved support in controlling infection thanks to the appointment of a new specialist.
As Nurse Consultant for Infection Prevention and Control, Rosie Dixon is providing expert advice and support to Trust staff in their continuing fight against infectious diseases including MRSA and Clostridium Difficile.
Rosie has more than 13 years of experience in the field of infection control, having worked with Sheffield Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, leading and implementing a number of national campaigns, including 'cleanyourhands', which aims to ensure that hand hygiene has a high profile with healthcare staff and the public. For the last five years Rosie has worked as the lead for infection prevention and control at Sheffield Health and Social Care NHS Foundation Trust where she implemented a raft of changes to improve patient safety and care. She also volunteered to spend time in a partner organisation within North East Uganda to help make basic improvements to the conditions within the region's Gulu Referral Hospital; and continues to provide on-going support to staff there.
Rosie said: "I'm delighted to be appointed to this post. The Trust is committed to providing a clean and safe environment for patients, visitors and staff and we have a strict hygiene routine for everyone in our care.
"Education is key to continued success. We train staff to always act to prevent infections, and recognise how to control the spread of any new infection, for example by keeping infected patients apart from others."
The Trust has implemented a number of measures and initiatives that help in the fight against infection, including a programme to ensure all wards are deep cleaned and introducing new technologies to assist in ensuring the standards of cleaning are high.
Rosie added: "Visitors can also play a part in helping us to protect their friends and relatives in hospital by simply thoroughly washing their hands or using alcohol gel before entering any ward, and most importantly not to visit hospital if they have a cold or other infection."