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Torbay Hospital welcomes health minister

Health Minister visit
L-R: Richard Ibbotson; Kevin Foster;Jeremy Hunt; Ruth Day;Julien Parrot; Rob Dyer; Nick Roberts

Published: 4 August 2017

The Secretary of State for Health, Jeremy Hunt, visited Torbay Hospital yesterday (Thursday 3 August) to hear first-hand about the progress being made on safe and effective care.

The Minister, who was joined by Ruth May (Chief Nurse from NHS Improvement), began his visit by meeting with the Trust’s Chairman, Sir Richard Ibbotson, and Chief Executive, Mairead McAlinden. They were joined by the Trust’s executive team, Nick Roberts (Chief Clinical Officer at South Devon and Torbay CCG), Councillor Julien Parrott (Lead for Adult and Children at Torbay Council) as well as Kevin Foster (MP, Torbay). Mr Hunt heard about the positive impact that the Trust’s integrated model of care is having on safety and quality and affordable care.

He was particularly interested to hear about the advantages and opportunities of having a single organisation delivering integrated health and social care, and how this was making a real difference to providing care at home. He also heard how this has enabled the reduction of almost 100 hospital beds through additional services in local communities.

Mr Hunt then spoke with staff based in the Trust’s Coastal Locality (via video conferencing) and observed a Multi-Disciplinary Team coming together to discuss patient care. The team is made up of GPs, physiotherapists, occupational therapists, social care staff, community nurses, pharmacists and the voluntary sector. The team discussed the importance of the community having a joined-up, multi-agency approach to patient care to enable them to provide seamless care to the local population and to give a different choice to people who have very complex needs.

After this, Mr Hunt attended a meeting with over 100 staff from across the Trust, where he heard about the organisation’s sustained quality and safety improvements in areas including urgent care, sepsis management, safe staffing, falls and pressure ulcers. The Trust shared with the Secretary of State its approach to managing risks including its culture of encouraging staff to share concerns, its approach to mortality surveillance, developing junior doctors and the work of the Trust’s ‘Freedom to Speak Up’ Guardians.

Staff then had the chance to ask the Secretary of State questions, which included topics such as the retention and recruitment of staff, funding, maternity services, challenges facing CAMHS as well as how the Trust is supporting independent sector care providers.

In addition, Mr Hunt has also formally written to the Trust to commend its ‘exceptional improvement’ and achievement of a 97 per cent recommendation rate in May’s Friends and Family test* results. In the letter, Mr Hunt stated that “…the Trust is a real example to others, demonstrating how to improve performance in a short space of time and ensure that your patients get the care they deserve. This improvement is a testament to the hard work and dedication of the Trust’s staff.”

Following the visit to the Trust, Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt said: “I was impressed to see the progress made by South Devon and Torbay as they work to fully integrate health and social care in their local area – their efforts should be seen as a model for the rest of the country. In particular their use of technology to connect the workforce – which means patients spend less time in hospital and more time getting care in the community.

“Thank you to all staff for their hard work to making the integrated care organisation a reality.”

Jane Viner, Chief Nurse at Torbay and South Devon NHS Foundation Trust, said: “I’d like to thank the Secretary of State for taking the time to visit our hospital and give our staff the chance to share with him, and Ruth, the work we are doing to ensure people who use our services receive safe and timely care. Mr Hunt recognised the passion and commitment of our staff which was great to hear.

“Ruth also took the opportunity to acknowledge the Trust’s improvements especially regarding the reduction in the use of agency staff. She also highlighted the need for staff to look after their own health and wellbeing as the sustainability of the NHS relies on having a healthy, resilient workforce.

“This was a great opportunity for the Trust to demonstrate our commitment in providing a safe and caring environment for our patients as well as our staff.”

Sir Richard Ibbotson, Chairman of Torbay and South Devon NHS Foundation Trust, said: “It was a privilege for us to demonstrate the growing success of our integrated care organisation to the Secretary of State and the Chief Nurse. They were really interested in what we are doing here in Torbay and South Devon which can only be of benefit for the community we serve.”

Mairead McAlinden, Chief Executive of Torbay and South Devon NHS Foundation Trust, paid tribute to the staff and partners who are driving this improvement. She said: “Mr Hunt heard about our staff working together and with new partners to deliver great care, they deserve our thanks and we are committed to continuing to support all our staff to deliver the highest quality of care to our local communities.”