PATIENTS at a health centre gave the thumbs-up to a new service on the eve of a crunch health meeting.
Bosses at North Tees and Hartlepool NHS Foundation Trust carried out a week-long survey at One Life Hartlepool, in Park Road, asking patients what they thought of the new minor injuries unit.
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The results were released yesterday, ahead of the eagerly-anticipated meeting at Hartlepool College of Further Education, which starts at 6pm tonight, where concerns over changes brought about by the closure of the accident and emergency department at the University Hospital of Hartlepool will be discussed.
As previously reported in the Mail, health chiefs from the trust will not be present at the meeting. But they are delighted at the response from patients at One Life.
A random sample of 80 patients were invited to complete the survey before they left the unit. Forty per cent of those invited, 32 patients, responded with the overwhelming comments about the new service being very positive.
The results showed that 94 per cent of patients thought the reception process was efficient, 78 per cent felt they were given enough privacy at the reception and 100 per cent thought staff at the reception were polite and friendly.
Results also showed that 100 per cent felt they were treated with politeness and dignity during examination and treatment, 91 per cent said their pain was adequately controlled (the remaining nine per cent said they were not in pain), and 100 per cent of respondents said they thought the unit was clean and the service was either good or very good.
The survey showed 81 per cent of patients were given an initial assessment by a nurse within 15 minutes and all patients who responded said they were assessed within 30 minutes.
Twenty two per cent of patients said they did not have to wait to see a doctor or nurse, 75 per cent of patients were seen by a doctor or nurse within 30 minutes and the remainder (three per cent) were seen within an hour.
Andy Simpson, clinical director for accident and emergency at North Tees and Hartlepool NHS Foundation Trust, said: “This survey was carried out within the first month of the new arrangements because we wanted to find out what people thought of the service and identify any areas for improvement.
“I would like to pay tribute to the doctors, nurses and reception staff who are working very hard to make the new arrangements successful for the people of Hartlepool.
“We’re seeing high numbers of attendances at times in the unit but are dealing with them very efficiently. This shows that people do know about the service.
“From the information we have so far we can see that patients needing emergency care are phoning 999. We would urge people to err on the side of caution if they are unsure if someone is injured or takes ill. It is not a good idea to sweep a seriously ill or injured person into a car and take them to what you might think is the right place.
“The people at the ambulance service are the experts in this and they will advise you on the correct course of action. Of course if it is serious they will be with you quickly, effectively bringing the emergency services to your door and providing emergency care en-route to the most appropriate hospital
“It is early days but it does appear that people understand what they need to do if they need urgent or emergency care and, as a Hartlepool resident and a doctor in emergency medicine, this is what I was most concerned about as the new arrangements were put into place.”
Meanwhile, anyone planning on attending tonight’s public meeting at the college is advised to get there early. There is room for 300 people and the meeting is expected to last for two hours. It will be followed by an extraordinary meeting of the council at 8pm.
• A report from the meeting will appear on the web later today, with full coverage in Friday’s Mail