WEST Suffolk Hospital shone when put under the spotlight by a visit from the UK’s director for health and work this week.
Dame Carol Black, who is also former president of the Royal College of Physicians, officially opened the Bury St Edmunds hospital’s emergency assessment unit (EAU) on Wednesday, taking the opportunity to praise the hospital for its approach towards the wellbeing of its staff.
She told hospital bosses that not investing in the health and wellbeing of staff affected staff engagement, negatively impacting on productivity and therefore on quality of care.
“Engagement of staff relates to mortality,” she said. “How well you care for you staff will really affect how well you care for your patients.”
West Suffolk Hospital NHS Foundation Trust is one of only 11 NHS acute trusts to have signed up to the Department of Health’s Public Health Responsibility Deal, which aims to help people lead healthier lives.
Last year, more than 200 doctors, nurses, porters, healthcare assistants, administrators and managers from the hospital joined student coaches and players from West Suffolk College for a day-long tag rugby tournament and lunchtime walking groups and quarterly staff quizzes have since been introduced.
Dame Carol was impressed by the gold Healthy Ambitions Suffolk business award given to the trust in December in recognition of its commitment to encouraging healthy lifestyles among its staff and by the latest staff survey, which showed 77 per cent felt satisfied with the quality of work and patient care they were able to deliver and 81 per cent felt valued by their colleagues.
She said: “One should aim for this sort of thing. This is a good team, you can sense that. I’d be happy to be treated here.”
Hospital staff then took her on a tour of the 17-bed EAU, which opened earlier this year following a major £800,000 project to improve its facilities.
Stephen Graves, the hospital’s chief executive, stressed the importance of having Dame Carol’s input on the steps the hospital wanted to take to promote health and wellbeing and said having someone of her stature visit was ‘important recognition’ of the work done by all the hospital’s staff.