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North Cumbria University Hospitals NHS Trust - 70 years of the NHS


Home > News > Matron for Patient Experience making a difference

Matron for Patient Experience making a difference

Posted on Tuesday 4th September 2012
Crea Simpson with Hazel Hardy

Crea Simpson speaks to patient Hazel Hardy

A new role has been created at North Cumbria’s hospitals to ensure patients have the best possible experience during their stay.

Matron for Patient Experience Crea Simpson has been tasked with walking the wards, listening to any comments, concerns and issues patients have and using this information to improve the care and service offered. Since she took up the new post in March this year, she has spoken to hundreds of patients on wards throughout Carlisle’s Cumberland Infirmary and West Cumberland Hospital in Whitehaven.

When Crea meets patients for the first time, if they are happy to chat, she asks them a range of questions on topics from their admission and initial assessment to their stay on the ward. These could include:

  • If you first came to A&E, were you seen quickly?
  • Did staff explain everything to you?
  • How have you found it on the ward?
  • If you press your button, do staff come quickly?

Crea explained: “Most patients really welcome having a Matron who has the time to listen and is simply dedicated to checking everything is okay. Many patients just want someone to chat to and often they sing the praises of the nurses and other staff looking after them.

“Sometimes a patient might have a gripe, such as a curtain which doesn’t quite close properly, which they don’t like to bother the nursing staff with as they know they are very busy. I can get problems like that fixed no problem, but it improves the patient’s experience of our hospitals no end.”

During the first six months in post, Crea has been able to introduce changes which may be simple but which have improved patients’ lives considerably.

“A patient mentioned that they kept being woken up in the middle of the night by a bin lid slamming,” she explained. “We have now fitted soft-close bins on every ward so patients will no longer be disturbed. It’s a really simple thing but it means patients who may have gone away with a negative experience of our hospitals will now have a much better time.”

Hazel Hardy, 69, of Workington said Crea had been a great help during her stay at the Cumberland Infirmary. As a sufferer of coeliac disease, Hazel was unsure what she could eat from the hospital menu. “Crea explained to me what other choices were available – she got me bacon and eggs!” Hazel said. “And she got my curtains fixed. I think it’s a great idea – it’s good to see matrons back on the wards.”

Raechel Graham, 85, from Carlisle was happy to give Crea feedback on her time on Maple ward at the Cumberland Infirmary. “The nurses are lovely and if you press the button, they come pretty quickly,” she said. “I have no complaints.”

Crea also speaks to staff on the wards, following up issues raised by patients but also noting any concerns or comments from the staff themselves. The information gathered is logged using the AuditR online reporting programme and is then shared with staff throughout the Trust to improve services.

The introduction of the role of Matron for Patient Experience is just one of several initiatives brought in over the past few years, including the online reporting programme, to improve the level of care offered.  

Eileen Thompson, 64, of Maryport, recently in West Cumberland Hospital for a hip replacement, said she could notice a significant improvement all round compared with a previous stay. “I can notice a difference, a real improvement from four years ago,” she said. “I can’t fault it – from the cleaners, the ones who bring your meals, to the physios and nurses, everyone; they all treat you with respect.”

“It’s a really rewarding job,” said Crea. “I get to meet some wonderful people and I really feel like I’m making a difference and helping to improve the services we offer.”