• Croydon Health Servics Trust sees “much worse than expected” score from national inpatient survey
  • Integrated care trust only NHS trust to receive this overall rating, largely down to patient experience of being discharged
  • Nursing vacancies also a significant problem

An integrated care trust received the lowest score in England from the inpatient survey, partly down to people’s experience of being discharged.

Croydon Health Services Trust, which provides acute and community services to the south London borough, was the only NHS trust to be scored “much worse than expected” in the survey released this week.

The £291m-turnover organisation that has run community services since 2011 and focused heavily on integration with mental health services and social care also saw lower scores in its medical care and surgical services.

The survey results picked out discharge experience and communication with patients as the two main areas of dissatisfaction.

Joint chief nurse for the trust and Croydon Clinical Commissioning Group Elaine Clancy said: “Our patients want to be more involved in decisions about their care and be asked about their emotional needs. We also need to keep our patients more informed about their discharge from hospital and make the process much smoother.”

She said the trust had set up a new integrated discharge team with the council since the survey was carried out. She said: “Focusing on ward practices and how we plan for discharges has reduced the number of long-stay patients by 20 per cent compared to three months ago. There is more to do, but this is helping to manage demand on our wards and give our staff more time to care.”

Ms Clancy was appointed in April.

The inpatient survey, released this week and compiled from data collected last July, also found the trust had the second lowest score in England on whether there were enough nurses.

On a scale of zero to 10, with zero being “there were rarely or never enough nurses” and 10 being “there were always or nearly always enough nurses”, the trust scored 6.3.

The trust has 200 band five nurse vacancies out of a total nursing establishment of 1,000 but stressed that recruitment was a challenge across the NHS.

Ms Clancy said: “Our agency use has fallen to 10 per cent across all our wards in the last four weeks, compared to 13 per cent in August last year. In March 2019, we were at the Nursing Times careers fair on the South Coast and recruited more than 60 nurses. We have also gone overseas to bring nurses with the right skills and aptitude to care from Dubai and elsewhere. We have also taken to social media to promote why people should choose a nursing career in Croydon.”