"Torbay Hospital is a leader in the NHS"

About: Torbay Hospital

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My 89 year old mother was recently treated successfully for pneumonia in Torbay Hospital. The quality of the care she received was outstanding in all aspects - from medical to nursing care. She was treated with great care, compassion and respect throughout her stay. Despite her advanced age and very poorly condition on admission there was never any suggestion that any relevant intervention would be denied to her. The consultant geriatrician who looked after her immediately after her admission to the hospital was fabulous and demonstrated a very high degree of professionalism in the way that she organised my mum's care. She did not try and shrink from letting both mum and the family know that her condition was very serious and that a good outcome could not be guaranteed. However, she managed to do this in a way that inspired trust and confidence in us all and gave real hope to my lovely old mum. The care provided by the nurses and nursing assistants was absolutely wonderful - nothing was too much trouble and if mum pressed the call button somebody would always attend her very quickly. As her family, we felt that she was being given the standard of care that the medical and nursing staff would have wanted one of their parents to receive in similar circumstances. You cannot really ask for more than that.. As mum said to me one evening when she had had a slight accident and had to be bathed and changed by the nursing staff - "They don't do cross in Torbay Hospital"! What they do provide is wonderful care and compassion, cheerfully and willingly given in large and helpful dollops. On one occasion, mum was desperate to go to the loo - there were no nursing staff available at that moment but one of the ward's junior doctors helped mum to the nearest toilet saying that "he had not gone into medicine to see people suffer"! For me that incident epitomised the really fantastic quality of care on offer in Torbay Hospital. It is revealing to see that 80 per cent of the staff at Torbay would recommend it to their family and friends which is very high praise indeed! The NHS has come in for a lot of stick recently with the scandals at the Mid Staffordshire Trust, Morecambe Bay and others. As a huge fan of the NHS - which is truly the mark of a civilised society - I just wish that everyone in the UK was able to access healthcare of such a high quality. For that to happen the NHS needs to change radically - the traditional and closed ways of working simply will not cut it in the years to come. Meeting the challenge of a rapidly ageing population coupled with fiscal austerity which may last another decade means that new leaders, new ideas and new approaches are needed right now if the essential essence of the NHS is to be preserved for generations to come. Valuable lessons learned at Torbay in effectively delivering acute care and integrating it appropriately with primary and social care need to be applied elsewhere. Effective leadership is everything.

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Response from Torbay Hospital

We were delighted, proud and extremely moved to read this very positive account of your mother's recent care at Torbay Hospital.

There were so many positive comments but three things in particular stood out for us; the fact that you felt that she was being given the standard of care that staff would have wanted their own parents to receive in similar circumstances, your mother's comment that "they don't do cross in Torbay Hospital" and also the junior doctor's comment when he helped your mother to the toilet.

These are all things that demonstrate the kind of care we strive to provide at Torbay, with kindness and dignity playing a major role, and so it is really great to hear that this was what your mother and your family in general experienced.

It was also good to see that you noted our effective leadership and how we work in an integrated way with our community services. We remain committed to this integrated approach as we know our patients benefit hugely from it. Thank you so much for taking the time to provide this feedback - please be assured we will share this with our staff.

We trust your mother has now recovered from her pneumonia and wish her ongoing good health.

Kind regards, South Devon Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust

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Response from Jo Curtis, Patient Engagement Lead, Engagement Team, South Devon and Torbay CCG

Dear Anonymous,

Thank you very much for taking the time to write about yours and your mother's experiences. As commissioners of Torbay Hospital it is so important to hear what people think. One of our leaders - Dr Derek Greatorex, Chair of our Clinical Commissioning Group has read your posting and asked me to pass on his reply to you:

"Scarcely a day seems to go by without some criticism of the Health Service so it is really heartening to hear such a positive experience of healthcare in one of our local hospitals. We all aspire to this standard of care but rarely do we get to hear about episodes like this, although we know from patient feedback that a large majority receive good care.

"Compassion is a word that has been used frequently of late, sadly in the context of a lack of it but this posting demonstrates that compassion is indeed alive and well in this hospital, as indeed it is across much of the NHS. Constant criticism in the press about how bad things are is demoralising to those who work in the NHS but this story shows that, despite this, staff do maintain a positive ‘can do’ attitude. Yes, there have been issues, and, yes, we do need to address these when they occur, but I would agree that the NHS is a national institution of we should be proud and in which we should have confidence.

"As Chair of the local clinical commissioning group, I agree with your comments about the challenges of changing population needs, the difficult financial environment and the need to work differently, but I have hope that the new ideas and new approaches needed are there. Many thanks for this heartening account and well done to all those who contributed to this excellent care."

Dr Derek Greatorex

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