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Southend University Hospital in line for prestigious awards

26 March 2013

Health Care

Southend University Hospital has been shortlisted for three prestigious national awards, two of them for the same department.

Sexual health specialists have been shortlisted for both the Patient Safety and the Care Integration Awards organised by theHealth Service Journal and Nursing Times.

Meanwhile, volunteer Feeding Buddies and a multi-disciplinary group of nurses, dietitians and catering staff are in the running for a Patient Safety Award for the innovative 'snack round' offering tempting treats for patients with exceptionally poor appetites.

Just being shortlisted is a great accolade as this year the awards received the highest number of entries ever. 

The sexual health teamhas developed a failsafe method of ensuring that HIV-positive women receive regular cancer checks, which is up for two awards.

Sexual health consultants Drs Henna Jaleel and Kieran Fernando will give presentations to the judging panel in the hope of beating their rivals for the coveted prize.

Dr Jaleel explained that women who are HIV-positive have a higher risk of cervical cancer and should therefore receive a smear test annually rather than every three to five years, as in the national programme.

She said: "The problem is that these women sometimes do not want their GP to know that they are HIV-positive, so we needed to find a way of encouraging them to come for a test every year. As healthcare professionals we have that responsibility."

Working with colleagues in public health and other departments, they devised a method of ensuring this group of patients receive an annual reminder from the national screening programme, without their HIV status being disclosed. They also ensured that the smear test was available immediately to women attending the hospital's sexual health clinic and that all newly-diagnosed HIV-positive women were entered on the audit base.

Since then, 100% of all eligible HIV-positive women have received the annual test - and as a result, any with pre-cancerous cells have been picked up speedily and appropriate treatment given.

Dr Fernando added: "In the past, we had to physically check through patients' notes to see if they had had their annual smear test or rely on their memory. Now we have a robust method of ensuring the women receive an annual invitation, without breaching their confidentiality." 

Also giving their pitch will be clinical nurse development nurse Claire Buckell, supported by matron Lynn Coley for the results of thesnack roundservice.

The trolley service, offering chocolate bars and cake, complete with cake-stand, is manned by ward staff and specially trained Feeding Buddies in their distinctive red tabards, who offer appetising treats as a way of stimulating poor appetites and boosting calorie intake.

Also on the menu are bananas, custards and yogurts, scones and other appealing, calorie-laden foods.

 "For elderly patients with small or poor appetites, offering high calories treats can help stimulate appetite at a time when the body needs more calories to recover from illness," explains Claire. "We believe offering these treats may aid a speedier recovery. Patients have also enjoyed the whole experience."

The snack round has been running since last year. Initially it focused on Elizabeth Loury and Stambridge wards but has now been extended to Estuary ward with more in the pipeline.

It started after staff found that, despite their cajoling and encouragement, some vulnerable patients were still not eating enough at mealtimes to meet their nutritional needs. Once snacks were offered, their calorie consumption rose by around 25%.

The hospital's chief nurse, Sue Hardy, said: "A tempting treat can often encourage a patient to eat, so the snack rounds have been an excellent way to support those with nutritional needs."



  • With pic - The snack round team