Healthwatch Dorset has helped several local hospitals to carry out their annual NHS assessment of patient experience.

The results, published recently by the NHS, show that all hospitals assessed rated very highly for overall cleanliness, while other areas need some improvement.

Hospitals assessed by Healthwatch Dorset were Alderney Hospital, Alumhurst Road (Nightingale House), Christchurch Hospital, Dorset County Hospital, Nuffield Hospital, Poole Hospital, Royal Bournemouth Hospital, and St Ann’s Hospital.

Twenty one Healthwatch Dorset volunteers were involved in the project, using the national NHS assessment framework to look at a range on non-clinical elements which affect patient experience.  This included cleanliness; food and hydration; privacy, dignity and wellbeing; condition, appearance and maintenance; how well the needs of patients with dementia are met; and how well the needs of patients with a disability are met.

All hospitals rated highly for cleanliness.  The outcomes that need to be addressed and improved, and that will set the benchmark for the 2020 assessments are food (at three hospitals), privacy, dignity and well-being (at two hospitals) and improvements to make the wards more dementia friendly (at three hospitals).

Each year, NHS hospitals are required to assess patient experience by conducting Patient-Led Assessments of the Care Environment (PLACE).  PLACE encourages the involvement of patients, the public, and national and local organisations that have an interest in healthcare in assessing providers.

PLACE data is available now for all hospitals across the country.  Scores for the local hospitals assessed by Healthwatch Dorset volunteers are as follows (green indicates highest scores, while yellow indicates lower scores).

Healthwatch Dorset Volunteer Officer, Holly Drinkwater, said: “PLACE assessments put patient views at the heart of the hospital assessment process.  Our volunteers enjoyed taking part and we’re now looking forward to following up on the results to encourage real improvements to our local hospitals.  If you’d like to find out more about volunteering with Healthwatch Dorset, please get in touch with us on 0300 111 0102 or online at”

Healthwatch Dorset volunteer, Chris, commented: “It is great to be involved in PLACE, as helping to ensure a good environment really matters.  The role is an important one, giving up some time to help patients is really rewarding and plays a small part in helping the NHS to improve.”


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