Local volunteers needed to inspect the patient environment at the Great Western Hospital

Posted: August 29, 2019

Can you help on Wednesday 23 October?

We're looking for people to take part in our annual Patient-Led Assessment of the Care Environment (PLACE) on Wednesday 23 October at the Great Western Hospital in Swindon. 

PLACE assessments involve local people (acting as patient assessors) going into hospitals as part of a team, alongside NHS staff and assessing how well the environment is meeting the needs of patients and identifying where improvements can be made. 

The team visit different areas of the hospital inspecting parts of the patient experience against set criteria. Patient assessors make up at least 50 per cent of the team, who review areas such as privacy and dignity, food, cleanliness, general building maintenance and how well the needs of patients with dementia or a disability are met.

Anyone can volunteer to be a patient assessor. Patient assessors do not need to have any experience and do not need to have any relationship with the NHS, but should be enthusiastic and interested in helping to inform improvements to the local NHS. 

Members of the general public are encouraged to take part, including patients, relatives, volunteers, members, students, governors. Former members of Trust staff can also volunteer, as long as they have not been employed by the Trust in the last two years. 

The assessment should take about five hours and patient assessors will be provided with lunch, free parking and full training. 

Although the date of the inspection has been revealed, the wards and departments to be inspected will not be revealed until the day. 

Laura Coulson, Head of Facilities, Great Western Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, is organising this year's PLACE assessment: "It's so important for us to get a clear picture of the environment from a patient and public perspective and patient assessors always make up at least half of the assessment team.  

"Anyone can volunteer to take part. You could be a patient or former patient, a volunteer, a carer, a student or just somebody who wants to support their local NHS. 

"We will be looking at the buildings, signage, cleanliness, food and drink, waiting areas, clinic areas and reviewing how the environment meets the needs of patients, from privacy and dignity, to the specific needs of patients with dementia or a disability. 

"In the past volunteers have really enjoyed the experience and their input is always incredibly valuable. This is an opportunity for us to better understand how the environment affects the experience of our patients and how we can make improvements."  

PLACE assessments take place across all hospitals, hospices and independent treatment centres providing NHS-funded care annually and the results are published so that the public can see how organisations are performing in relation to others providing similar services. 

How to get involved

Anyone interested in volunteering in this year's PLACE assessment of the Great Western Hospital should contact:

Laura Coulson
Head of Facilities
Tel: 01793 605922
Email: laura.coulson1@nhs.net

The assessment will involve walking around the hospital, so volunteers are asked to highlight any assistance they will need which the Trust is happy to arrange.

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