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Queen’s Hospital commended for care of dying performance

12:00 25 May 2014

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Queen's Hospital in Romford (Picture: Nick Ansell/PA)

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Queen’s Hospital has been commended by a leading doctors’ body for its improved performance in caring for the dying.

A report published last week by the Royal College of Physicians (RCP) found that the hospital was better than average on several measures of palliative care, including in the “difficult area” of communication with patients and their families.

In the audit, the quality of care received by 6,580 patients who died in 149 hospitals in England in May last year was examined through case notes. Questionnaires completed by 858 bereaved relatives were also reviewed.

At Queen’s, one of London’s largest hospitals, 92 per cent of cases achieved the top score on a key performance indicator (KPI) relating to doctors’ and nurses’ discussions with patients and their relatives and friends about the fact that they were dying.

On the indicator relating to communication regarding the patient’s plan of care for the dying phase, the hospital achieved the top score in 77 per cent of cases.

Nearby King George Hospital, which is also run by Barking, Havering and Redbridge University Hospitals NHS Trust (BHRUT), fared similarly well in the audit.

Dr Kevin Stewart, clinical director of the RCP’s clinical effectiveness and evaluation unit, said: “These are encouraging results for both King George and Queen’s, with better performance than the national picture on several key aspects of care.

“In particular, they seem to have made progress in the difficult area of communication by doctors and nurses with patients and families.

“They are to be commended on this performance and we hope will take encouragement from these results to focus on areas where work is still to be done.”

BHRUT medical director Dr Stephen Burgess said the trust had achieved better than the national average on nine out of 10 of the RCP’s key performance indicators. The one where the trust scored poorly was on reviewing care after death.

He added: “Since completion [of the audit], we have received our first analysis of our trust-wide bereavement questionnaire, which is sent to all families and carers of patients who have died while in the trust’s care.

“The results showed that, overall, the family and carers stated end-of-life care was good or excellent.”

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