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Patients Council - Caithness

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Minutes of a Meeting 3 December 2001 - 2.00pm

Caithness Patients Council

 Report of meeting held on Monday 3 December 2001 at 2.00 pm in the Conference Room at Caithness General Hospital.

 PRESENT:                  Patients Council

            Philip Anderson             Anne Campbell             Jean Castle

             Isabel Ferrier                Jim Fry                         Jim McAdie                 

Sandy Macleod             Rena Mappin                Frances Purves            

Malcolm Smart              Ivy Webster                                         

                                                                                                           Sheena Craig, Directorate General Manager, CGH

IN ATTENDANCE:   Kay Oswald, Directorate Assistant




 Sheena Craig welcomed everyone to the meeting.







 Jean Forbes

Sandy Morrison, Trustee of Highland Acute Hospitals NHS Trust 

Lachie Robertson, Quality Manager, Highland Acute Hospitals NHS Trust

Alison Phimister, Local Services Manager – Caithness, CGH







 The amended minutes of 24 September 2001 were agreed to be a correct record.







 Display of Minutes

Princes Street Surgery in Thurso have intimated that they have a new display board and would like to continue to receive the minutes for display. 



Information Leaflet

The information leaflet which was mentioned in the local press, as reputedly advertising Insurance Services, cannot be traced.  It is not an internally generated leaflet and without any further information on the leaflet this cannot be followed up.

 Telephone Rates

Lachie Robertson has advised that all the payphones at Raigmore use “Thus” lines and phone cards of £2 and £5 are available from the WRVS shop.  There is a minimum charge of 20p per call.  20p buys 110 seconds for national calls and 110 seconds for local calls. (This is the same as the BT payphone rates as “Thus” try to stay in line with BT rates.  Credit cards can also be used in the payphones.

It was queried whether the hospital sets its own rate for trolley phones and whether this is the same as the public rate. 










Diabetes Service

Sheena Craig indicated that the volume of patients at local clinics has increased but the waiting times for new patients is still less that 4 weeks.  Repeat appointments are reviewed by the Consultant and prioritised accordingly.  Dr McCrury at Raigmore is also receiving an increased number of referrals from Caithness GPs.

The difficulties of recruiting specialist physicians to the Highlands was discussed and the possibility of recruiting an assistant for Dr McCrury.  Sheena confirmed that she will be involved in any future discussions with Raigmore regarding the Diabetes service in the Highlands.

It was agreed that Sheena should write to Raigmore expressing the disquiet of the Patients Council over the current provision of Diabetes services to Caithness.

 Renal Services

A draft highland wide business case has been prepared but the full business case is yet to be finalised.  Caithness General Hospital is the preferred site for a peripheral unit and this will be built into the business case.  A site within CGH is being identified and budget costs prepared.  The unit will include a 4 bedded area; office; nurse bay; prep and sluice room.  Training issues will arise but the preference is to recruit internally.

Business cases will be prioritised by the Trust in January, after which they will be forwarded to the NHS Highland Improving Health Services Committee (February).  It is hoped that any discussions agreed at the IHSC will be ratified by the NHS board when it meets in April. 

It was intimated that the Council are fully appreciative and fully support the efforts to establish a dialysis unit at Caithness General Hospital.















 Graphs and information on the waiting lists and waiting times were distributed. The numbers have remained pretty stable.  The Medical Records Manager is investigating the patients who have been waiting 6 – 9 months.

Outpatient waiting list figures have started to come down but are still higher than the beginning of the year.  Ophthalmology and Orthodontics continue to be the worst areas. It was confirmed that this information is useful to the members of the Council.

A discussion of the dental services in Caithness took place and it was confirmed that new guidelines have been issued regarding anaesthetics given to children which states that Paediatric services have to be available on site.  As we are unable to comply with this children can no longer have a general anaesthetic for dental treatment at CGH. A relative analgesic service at Caithness will begin from June 2002.
















 Sheena intimated her thanks to Anne Campbell for going to Inverness for the review meeting on 27 September 01.

Additional draft standards are now available:-

·         Health Care Associated Infection – August 2001

·         Diabetes – August 2001

·         Renal Services – September 2001

·         Older People in Acute Care – October 2001

Draft papers can be obtained from Sheena’s office.







 A draft poster and advertisement were distributed.  It was agreed that the advertisement should be placed in Mid January.








HIGHLAND HEALTH COUNCIL VISIT TO Queen Elizabeth Assessment and Rehabilitation Unit


The recommendations in the report following the Highland Health Council visit to the Queen Elizabeth Assessment and Rehabilitation Unit were discussed and an update on the follow up actions was given as follows:-


87.   Still to be discussed with Highland Council

88.   More disabled car spaces are now available

89.   Food trays are now being monitored by staff when collected and on return to kitchen.  Patients are now weighed on admission and nutrition screening has been initiated.

90.   Being looked at under the Catering Services Review

91.   Patients are given choice of where to eat their meals and most prefer to eat in their rooms.

92.   Audit of call system to be completed. 

93.   Sister Robertson has obtained samples of cloth badges which she will have sewn onto her uniform and test for washing etc.

94.   Named nurse concept is being actively enforced

95.   New signs are in place and additional directional signs have been requested.  The cost of new security keypads for the doors has been established and will be considered.

96.   Pooled clothing is only used in emergency and nursing staff have suggested that patients would not wish to retain the pooled clothing.  Also pool of clothing is not sufficient for this purpose.

97.   Not all of the bathrooms have sufficient surface areas beside toilet to install more toilet roll holders and nursing staff feel it may inhibit access to assist patients.

98.   Men are being more actively encouraged to join in the activity sessions.

99.   Agreed that lack of funding has resulted in patients being inappropriately placed in the unit.









 Medication on Discharge

One meeting has been held and notes will be distributed.  The working group concluded that waiting for discharge medication did not usually result in long delays in patient discharge.  However it was acknowledged that communication could be improved.  It was agreed that this subject should be included in the induction training for Junior Doctors.

 Review of Admission Letters for Endoscopy Procedures

A draft letter has been prepared which will be accompanied by a leaflet.  Samples of leaflets from other areas will be sought for discussion.  The diet sheet will be revised. 

Quality Group

A meeting will be arranged when the next statistics regarding the Patient Questionnaires are received.  Kay Oswald will contact Lachie Robertson to establish when this is likely to be.

 Catering Services Review

At the first meeting of this group it was agreed that some “Ghost” meals should be ordered for Jean Castle and Kay Oswald to sample and test for appropriateness.  “Normal”, “Soft” and “Pureed” meals were ordered.  A memo asking staff for comments or suggestions has also been distributed.



















Those who attended the Open Day in Inverness gave their views on the day.  Display boards had been set up showing the work of the Raigmore Patients Council and the Web Pages which they have set up was on display.  It was agreed that we should exchange minutes with Raigmore as a one off for comment and twice a year we should visit each others meetings.










 Smoke from Chimney

It was indicated that bursts of black smoke has been seen coming from the hospital chimney.  Kay will check with Peter Gates as to reason for this.





Pressure Group

The recent meetings of the local pressure group which has been set up to look at Health Situations was discussed.  It was felt that this group is unaware of the existence of the Patients Council Group and it was agreed that copies of the last three agreed minutes should be sent to Gordon Calder at the Groat Office.

Note: Confirm at next meeting.

 Outpatients Appointments

A member of the council enquired whether patients should receive a copy of the letter which is sent to GPs following an outpatient appointment and whether there is a policy for all consultants.




See note









 The date and time of next meeting is Monday 4 February 2001 at 2.00 pm in the Conference Room, Caithness General Hospital.