NHS Borders on target with waiting times

IN the same week it was revealed that NHS Borders, like other health boards across Scotland, are well on track to achieving a national waiting times target, a survey has shown that hospitals in the region are continuing to meet patients expectations of a high standard of care.

Months before a compliance rate of 90 per cent is put into place, figures published this week by health data organisation ISD Scotland showed that in June 89.7 per cent of the 135,637 patients nationwide whose entire journey could be measured, were seen and treated within 18 weeks from initial referral to start of treatment.

And NHS Borders results never dipped below the national average from January-June, with the overall performance peaking at 93.6 in the final month.

The issue of waiting times was something dealt with in the second NHS Inpatient Patient Experience Survey, the results of which were released earlier this week and made pleasant reading for NHS Borders.

The questionnaire was sent to more than 1,200 patients who had stayed overnight in one of the region’s community hospitals or at the Borders General Hospital and covered all of inpatient care from admission to post-discharge arrangements.

Questions asked ranged from whether patients felt they got the best treatment for their condition; if they were treated with care and respect; to the cleanliness of the hospital and the quality of the food.

The survey results show that patients were generally very positive about their experience of staying in Borders facilities, particularly about their treatment; information provided and the care and respect they were given by staff.

The most encouraging findings for NHS Borders, who outperformed last year’s ratings in a number of areas, included an average of 97 per cent of patients being positive about the information given before attending hospital to help them understand what would happen when admitted; 90 per cent positive about the treatment they received during their time in A&E; 93 per cent positive about the cleanliness of the hospital environment; and 93 per cent content that they were treated with care.

The Knoll Hospital in Duns wasn’t included in the report as there were insufficient people to survey but Borders General Hospital received feedback from 534 of its patients and a number of questions garnered results significantly higher than the Scottish average.

The most noticeable of these was 94 per cent of patients surveyed stating they were happy with the time they waited to get a bed on a ward in the Melrose hospital; some seven per cent higher than the national result.

Another question which gave the BGH a very encouraging result was how patients rated their admission to hospital. Eighty nine per cent of patients responded positively, eight per cent more than the figure for the whole of Scotland.

The hospital didn’t out perform the national average in all areas though. When asked to respond to the statement ‘I was not bothered by noise at night’ only 44 per cent answered positively, eight per cent lower than the Scottish average and when asked if they were certain who was in charge of the ward they were in, 55 per cent said they were, six per cent worse than the national figure.

However, another one of the BGH’s worst performing results- 54 per cent in response to ‘in the emergency department/A&E I was told how long I would have to wait’, although two per cent down on the hospital’s 2009/10 result was still five per cent better than the nationwide average.