STAFF at two North East hospitals have been praised for their hard work and dedication in a patient survey.

Healthwatch County Durham and Healthwatch Darlington visited several wards at University Hospital of North Durham and Darlington Memorial Hospital after they were invited by County Durham & Darlington NHS Foundation Trust to speak to patients about their experiences.

Jason Cram, associate director of nursing, at County Durham & Darlington NHS Foundation Trust, said: “We want to ensure our patients have the very best possible experience when they’re in our hospitals. Clinical care is our top priority but there are other, perhaps less obvious, things that can make the world of difference.

"We asked Healthwatch to use their skills and resources to undertake this patient experience survey to help pinpoint areas where we’re getting things right and, in particular, things they would like to see changed or improved. We’re delighted that, overall, the feedback was very positive.”

Brian Jackson, chair of Healthwatch County Durham, said: “We spoke to staff and patients on six busy wards, three at University Hospital of North Durham and three at Darlington Memorial Hospital. We also left surveys for patient and their visitors to complete in their own time. Their feedback remained anonymous, which encourages frankness.

“Nurses were singled out for how helpful, friendly and approachable patients found them. Respondents told us how much they appreciated being kept informed and highlighted the caring attitude of nurses and health care assistants.

“Patients on some wards also told us that however busy staff were they took time to ask how they were feeling generally - in terms of their mental health and wellbeing. This is so important, as being in hospital can be a worrying time and patients can also feel isolated.

“Most patients also highlighted that the meals were good and that they liked the new system for ordering food via a tablet which give the option to change choices at short notice. Patients were also positive about the environment, telling us the wards were clean and the beds comfortable.”

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