A look back at 2013 with Shelagh Alderson

This year will have been a busy one for most organisations but for Spire Washington Hospital, 2013 brought celebrations through its 25th anniversary, as well as number of key developments. Here Shelagh Alderson, director of Spire Washington Hospital, takes a look back over the last 12 months and towards what 2014 has in store.

Spire Washington Hospital has enjoyed a very special year. Why is that the case?

This year has been the 25th anniversary of the hospital first opening its doors, which has been wonderful to celebrate, not least because we continue to go from strength to strength despite a difficult economic climate.  We believe this is down to our focus on our patients – to use a cliché, they really are at the heart of everything we do. This has been born out through our patient satisfaction survey results, which have only recently been published and are the best ever. Carried out independently, we have been thrilled to see that 96% of patients rate us overall as excellent or very good.

Spire Washington Hospital is known as a happy place to work. How do you achieve this?

It’s great that this is a message that has penetrated the local marketplace because we pride ourselves on looking after our employees. We believe in only recruiting and retaining the most talented staff - and this is not just about experience because our focus on continuous professional development means we look to develop those who work hard and give us their loyalty.

The quality of our consultants is key to our success and we have some of the UK’s best talent working here at Spire Washington Hospital. We try and nurture our consultants and were delighted when the 2013 consultant survey showed that 99% of our team strongly agreed we are easy to do business with.

Tell us about the recent investment into the facilities at Spire Washington Hospital

In 2012 we spent around a third of a million pounds in an upgrade to two of the hospital’s theatres. This year we allocated £380,000 to an extension that now houses new office space and a meeting room for up to 30 people, which we use regularly for staff training. The spend has also seen patient bedrooms, anaesthetic rooms and a number of autoclaves redeveloped.

The refurbishment programme has been particularly important for us – our endoscopy department is now compliant with Joint Advisory Group (JAG) regulations, a big step towards JAG accreditation. 

JAG works hand in hand with Global Rating Scale and is a patient centred service that requires clarity of standards for all gastrointestinal endoscopy units. The purpose of its accreditation is to ensure hospitals have everything necessary to provide best practice patient-centred care. Currently all NHS hospitals are legally obliged to attain the accreditation, but private healthcare providers are not and as such, very few independents nationally have taken the step. As you can see, our aim is always to lead the way where standards are concerned.

You’ve had a number of team changes – what’s been happening?

We have indeed – this has been a busy year! I was appointed to the position of hospital director and Andrew Johnson, who is a long serving member of staff, secured head of clinical services. Andrew was previously theatre manager so we have recruited Chris McBride as his replacement, who brings a wealth of experience from the NHS and is a very welcome addition to the team.  Our collective focus, along with the other members of the senior team, is how we further evolve the services on offer.

What will 2014 bring?

Our aim is always to be one of the leading health providers in the country so this remains our goal.

We have a lot to live up to – this year we were ranked fifth in the league for primary hip replacement and sixth for knee replacements in the Patient Recorded Outcome Measures data published annually by the NHS Partners Network, and we also had another year without any reported cases of MRSA or C.Difficile infections.

Ultimately whatever 2014 brings, you can be sure that our patients will always be treated with respect and professionalism because their well being is our over-riding priority.

More information from Spire Washington Hospital

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