Health inspectors praise Forth Valley Royal improvements following snap visit

The inspectors noted progress on outstanding concerns from the 2022 visit
The inspectors noted progress on outstanding concerns from the 2022 visit -Credit:Reach plc

Inspectors have praised the progress made by leadership at the region’s hospital on recommendations made after a pair of “concerning” visits in 2022.

The reports in April and September 2022 saw a total of 17 outstanding requirements for those in charge at Forth Valley Royal Hospital to implement - with Healthcare Improvement Scotland writing to both NHS Forth Valley and Scottish Government.

The latest HIS report from an inspection carried out in January this year has noted the progress made - with eight of the 17 outstanding recommendations having now been met, with action taking place on the other nine.

Further areas of improvement have also been identified for leadership at FVRH - including improved compliance with paediatric immediate life support training and the safe storage of cleaning products.

Another priority identified by inspectors is ensuring the correct procedure is followed when patients are detained under the Mental Health Act, with three new requirements drawn up in that area.

Donna Maclean, Chief Inspector for Healthcare Improvement Scotland, said:“During this follow-up inspection we have been assured that significant progress has been made by NHS Forth Valley in all of the areas highlighted during our previous inspections.

“Patients and relatives were complimentary about their care and the staff providing it. There was an open and supportive culture in the hospital and staff said they felt able to raise concerns.

“Despite increased hospital capacity, the areas we inspected were calm and well-led with teams working together to provide compassionate care.

“Inspectors reported a significant improvement in both the emergency department and the acute admission and clinical assessment units.

“Learning from patient feedback in the clinical assessment and acute admissions areas is being used to implement changes to improve patient experience.

“The majority of staff we spoke with describe Forth Valley Hospital as a good place to work with a supportive and visible senior leadership team and an improvement in culture since our previous inspection in September 2022.”

The safety and quality concerns identified in the 2022 reports saw HIS staff commissioned to assist the health board in meeting the areas of improvements.

That process included the forming of a dedicated team, tackling identified issues on several areas including the improvement of patient safety over contingency beds in times of pressure and development of ‘hospital huddles’ to improve communication and coordination.

During the two-day visit to the hospital in January, inspectors found the hospital was operating at 120 per cent of its capacity, with the emergency department sitting at 193.3 per cent on the second day.

It included 15 patients waiting more than 12 hours for admission to an appropriate care area.

In response to the outcome of the report, an NHS Forth Valley spokeswoman said it “welcomed” the latest report and said inspectors had found the areas they visited “calm and well led” despite pressures on capacity.

The spokeswoman added that patients and relatives were complimentary about the care received and the staff providing it, with further patient feedback being used to guide changes and improvements.

Professor Frances Dodd, NHS Forth Valley’s Executive Nurse Director, said: “We are pleased that the inspectors saw evidence of the significant progress made to address the issues and concerns highlighted during previous inspection visits.

“Many of the requirements outlined in the report have already been addressed and we will ensure all are fully implemented.

“We also recognise that there is still more to do to maintain and build on the good work already underway to further improve the experience of local patients and staff.”