MAJOR improvements are now under way to better patient care at the Royal Bournemouth Hospital, following a critical report by inspectors last year.

Hospital chiefs and governors, at a board of directors’ meeting last week, heard that every area flagged up by the Care Quality Commission has been addressed in the trust’s action plan.

Chairman Jane Stichbury said it was very encouraging She said: “The patient experience and their quality of care is the absolute priority of this trust which is why this is the first item on the agenda.”

Director of nursing and midwifery Paula Shobbrook, said despite the national shortage of qualified nurses, they had recruited an additional 40 student nurses, and offered 13 jobs to nurses overseas.

“We are making really good progress.

“A lot of changes have happened very quickly which is very exciting and so much better for staff on the wards.”

The CQC inspectors are expected to return at the end of March or early April for a follow-up inspection.

Chief executive Tony Spotswood revealed he will also invite independent assessors as a ‘further verification of the progress that has been made’.

Chief operating officer Helen Lingham said in recent weeks, the trust had been able to reduce the bed occupancy rate considerably, on average to 90 per cent.

She said: “This is a unique position in Dorset and shows that what we are doing is making a difference.”

Although there was some concern that the numbers of patients admitted to the stroke unit who were scanned within an hour was below the national average, the overall trend was improving and that patients are now being discharged more quickly.

Governors heard that this is a good indication of a unit’s success in returning patients to their pre-stroke level of health and independence.

Ms Lingham added: “This is a journey of improvements.

“There are still some areas that we are focusing on, but it feels different this time.”

The next meeting will be held on Friday, March 14 at 8.30am in the Committee Room at the Royal Bournemouth Hospital.