The group of students from Throston School, Hartlepool visited North Tees and Hartlepool NHS Foundation Trust to carry out an inspection of its Paediatric Services.
The students, aged nine and 10 years old, turned up with their clipboards to look around the Paediatric A&E department, as well as the Resus area.
It’s part of a wider initiative, where the Young Inspectors tour around NHS services in the area to offer feedback from a child’s perspective.
The Young Inspectors will then return to present comprehensive feedback on the service, offering recommendations for the Trust to implement.
Dawn Taylor, Play Specialist at North Tees and Hartlepool NHS Foundation Trust, was involved with the visit from day one. She explained ‘it’s a great opportunity for these youngsters to see behind the scenes at the hospital, and to give them an insight into potential future careers that they might not have considered. They are all really enthusiastic and very engaged with the concept – they certainly rose to the challenge!’
Some positive feedback the children offered included that the Paediatric A&E department is very child friendly and easily accessible. Some of their favourite films were featured in the rooms of the department of which they were very complimentary, explaining that this would put them at ease if they ever had to visit the hospital.
Some areas that were highlighted for improvement included chipped paintwork which could present a safety hazard, and the lack of toys for children over the age of five. Dawn explained to the children ‘we used to have games consoles for the over fives, but unfortunately due to theft, these disappeared quite quickly. We are always looking for donations, so if you are able to find any for us that would be amazing.’
They were especially complimentary of the ‘pain clock’ initiative, something which was developed in-house as a direct result from patient feedback. The pain clock helps young patients demonstrate their level of discomfort to A&E staff, by using the clock as a visual aid. It’s a great tool for when young ones are too upset to talk, but they need help from the staff on the ward.
Debbie Hall, Service Lead for Paediatrics Urgent and Emergency Care at the Trust added ‘the feedback that we receive from the Young Inspectors is invaluable. We’re always looking for ways to improve our service, but this unique insight means that we are able to consider things we may never have thought about before. We’ve already implemented one of the recommendations and we are looking into the others – watch this space!’
Young Inspector Christie offered some final feedback ‘I would just like to say that if I was to visit the hospital as a patient, it is very bright and welcoming and I would feel very safe. I am much happier now about ever visiting, now that I’ve seen around the place and met all of you.’