It’s always good to know you’re getting things right, but the team on Ipswich Hospital’s Children’s Ward are not just doing that, they are outstanding.
When a child is seriously ill or injured it is a hugely worrying time and the weight of fear and stress on a family is significant. They have to be sure their loved one is in the best hands and in the best possible place for their treatment, care and recovery.
At East Suffolk and North Essex NHS Foundation Trust (ESNEFT), paediatric services provide care to babies, children and young people up to the age of 16 at both Colchester and Ipswich hospitals – services which were rated outstanding by the Care Quality Commission (CQC) this year.
It was the team on the Ipswich Hospital site which were visited by inspectors.
Clinical lead for Paediatrics Dr Lauren Filby said:
“It’s down to the hard work of everyone, the medical team, the admin support team, service managers, everyone. They have really pulled together and we’re all really proud of the outstanding result.
“We’ve worked hard on patient care and in areas like the High Dependency Unit to put in pathways to provide really high quality services locally for families, otherwise they would be transferred elsewhere.
“It emphasises that we are working towards one common goal, we have never forgotten that the patient is always the main person we are worried about.”
Children’s Ward matron at Ipswich Hospital Kate Stockton said: “It’s absolutely lifted the staff – the team on the ward are so proud and they’re proud of the care they give. They are determined not to let the outstanding rating go now.”
The inspection team highlighted the way in which the ward team work in partnership with families, building connections and supporting them throughout their time in hospital – whether that is for one hour, one day, one year or longer.
The CQC’s report said staff kept children and their families informed, making them “partners in their own care”, as well as providing them with emotional support.
Care is planned with patients’ individual needs in mind and staff encourage feedback from children and their families.
Inspectors found children can access services when they need them and they do not have to wait too long for treatment.
The report also said leadership was effective and staff “felt respected and worked well with their colleagues on all levels”.
Dr Filby said: “Our team is excellent, but part of that team is the child and their family.
“There’s something really unique about someone handing over their child to you. It’s a privilege and a big thing to be trusted with their care and we pride ourselves on providing that really high standard of care.”
Ward set for huge boost thanks to The Children’s Appeal
Ipswich Hospital’s Children’s Ward is in great need of an upgrade to improve the efficiency and patient flow through the department.
The Children’s Appeal was launched by Colchester & Ipswich Hospitals Charity in 2018 to raise £2.5million to build a new children’s department which will transform patient experience and care.
With improved facilities, such as more clinic rooms and dedicated areas for diabetes, cystic fibrosis and physiotherapy patients, as well as extra beds on Bergholt Ward, the team will have the space they need to continue their outstanding work.
Dr Filby said: “Children are a huge part of this hospital. We should be providing a better environment for them and their families.”
Kate said: “As a department we’re very good, but we’d like the environment around us to support us better so we can support more children in a certain time frame and where they need to be.
“Their time matters and they don’t want to travel with unwell children, they want to be cared for close to home and by people they have a rapport with.”
So far the appeal has raised more than £293,000, but a total of £500,000 is needed in the next two years to make the new ward a reality. You can make a donation here.
Education doesn’t stop while a child is in hospital
The CQC gave a special mention to the education provided to young patients when they are in hospital.
It was highlighted in the report that children do not fall behind with their education when they have to spend a long time on the ward, thanks to Ipswich Hospital’s School Room.
The school room, on Boxford Ward, provides education for any school-age child (four to 18 years old) offering tuition and activities based on the National Curriculum.
The team can also help children who may be missing exams due to being in hospital, a number of youngsters have taken GCSE and A-level exams in the school room.
Lead teacher Kate Kingsford-Bere said: “The children are going through a lot when they come to hospital so we try to make it a very calm and positive experience for them all.
“We don’t have medical intervention here, it’s very separate from the ward. It makes it ‘normal’ for the children and parents find it very supportive too.”
What the CQC said about ESNEFT’s services for children and young people
- Staff treat children, young people and their families with compassion and kindness, respect their privacy and dignity and take account of their individual needs.
- Staff provide emotional support to children, young people and their families to minimise their distress. They understand patients’ personal, cultural and religious needs.
- Staff support and involve children, young people and their families to understand their conditions and make decisions about their care and treatment, ensuring a family centred approach.