News round-up: Estates and facilities management

LANDSCAPING: Children's garden wins gong

A GARDEN for young patients at Addenbrooke's Hospital has picked up the Youth Bank Award for Cambridge city. The gong comes after the project was given funding from the Cambridgeshire Youth Bank, which is made up of a group of young people who allocate cash to their peers for schemes to benefit the community. Each year, the group selects one of the projects that have received money from each of five geographic areas as the worthy winner of an award. The D2 garden at Addenbrookes was transformed for the benefit of young patients and now includes a giant chess board, teenage shelter, climbing frame and chalk board. Active, a support group that gives young patients at Addenbrooke’s a voice, worked with local landscape designer, Lesley Dickinson, and the estates team to turn the garden into a reality.

COMMUNICATIONS: Pager initiative could see end of hospital waiting rooms

HOSPITAL waiting areas could be a thing of the past if a pilot scheme that gives patients more control over their time is successful. A paging system has been introduced in Barnsley Hospital's antenatal clinic, allowing mums-to-be to go to the restaurant or café, visit the hospital shops or take a stroll in the hospital grounds without worrying about missing their appointment. When there are delays, the scheme allows women to take a pager that is set to alert them when their appointment is next in line, giving them time to return to the unit. If successful, the system could be rolled out across other types of appointments. Sharon Hardy, antenatal clinic manager, said, “Sometimes when our clinics run longer than scheduled, because there are patients with complex needs or we need to run extra tests, it means longer waits, which we know can be frustrating or boring for the women. This system helps tackle this.” The pagers cost £850 and were funded by the hospital charity.

PARKING: Public consultation leads to changes at Surrey hospitals

CAR parking arrangements at Epsom, St Helier and Sutton hospitals are to be revolutionised after 1,100 patients, visitors and staff members responded to a consultation exercise. Known as The Big Conversation, the survey aimed to find out how the car parks could be improved, while still keeping them safe, accessible and fairly priced. Now the responses have been collected and the board of Epsom and St Helier University Hospitals NHS Trust has agreed significant changes over the coming months.

Matthew Hopkins, trust chief executive, said: “Following the feedback we have received from our patients, visitors and staff, we are making big changes to the way our car parks are run, including stopping clamping and making sure patients and visitors are refunded for parking if their appointment is delayed by more than an hour. Importantly, with the financial climate as it is, we have also agreed that parking charges for patients, visitors and staff will not increase over the next two financial years and we won't be charging on bank holidays. In addition, patients and visitors will be able to park without any charge for the first 20 minutes of their stay.” The trust is also creating more disabled parking and allocating additional short-stay drop-off points.

STAFF UNIFORMS: Drug round tabards to improve patient safety

INNOVATIVE staff at Derby Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust have devised a unique tabard for nurses to wear while carrying out medication rounds on the ward. The tabard is believed to be the first of its kind in the country which is made from a material that can be wiped down to prevent the spread of healthcare associated infections. The brainchild of senior nurse, Ian Davidson, and matron, Lorraine Hourd, each tabard carries the slogan ‘drug round, do not disturb’, helping to improve patient safety by reducing the number of potential errors that can occur if a nurse is sidetracked while measuring out medication. White with green trim, they have been designed to replicate pharmacy colours. Davidson said: “These will help our nurses to get it right first time when dispensing drugs to our patients and reduce the potential number of errors which may occur if they are disturbed.” The tabards were produced by Boyd Cooper, the leading supplier of medical clothing to the NHS.

PARKING: New car park opens at Gloucester hospital

THE new Tower Car Park at Gloucestershire Royal Hospital opened to staff and visitors this week. Constructed by VINCI Park, the building incorporates a series of cedar timber louvre panels rotated to create a wave effect. This is designed to prevent car headlights from being seen in nearby properties, while also providing natural ventilation, light and surveillance. “The opening of the new car park will significantly improve parking provision on the site” said Ian Tait, estates and facilities divisional director. “It should ease parking pressures for staff, visitors and patients alike.”

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