King’s Mill praised for its care of learning disability patients

King's Mill Hospital at Sutton (PHOTO BY: Sherwood Forest Hospitals).
King's Mill Hospital at Sutton (PHOTO BY: Sherwood Forest Hospitals).

An independent report has praised King’s Mill Hospital at Sutton for the way it cares for and supports patients with learning disabilities.

Healthcare staff are appropriately trained and have a professional attitude, while the hospital’s treatment and facilities are readily accessible, says the report.

The findings delighted Suzanne Banks, the chief nurse at Sherwood Forest Hospitals Trust, which runs King’s Mill. She said: “Treating patients with compassion and respect is vitally important to us.

“We are proud of the steps we have taken in the last few years to improve the care and experience of our hospital for people with learning disabilities and/or autism.

“We are pleased that the report recognises much of the good work we have done. We are also grateful for its practical suggestions of ways in which we can continue to improve, and we will be taking these suggestions forward in the coming months.”

The report was commissioned by NHS England but compiled by Changing Our Lives, an organisation that has a long history of working with disabled people to check the experiences they have in hospitals, GP practices, dentists and pharmacies.

The Changing Our Lives team spent two days at the hospital, observing the environment and the way staff work. They also talked to staff, as well to patients and carers.

Their report highlighted several areas of good practice. These include using the experience and expertise of staff with good knowledge to ensure patients receive consistent and co-ordinated support.

The report praised the hospital’s specific care-pathway, the commitment of senior decision-making staff and the appointment of learning-disability champions. It also singled out for credit the Trust’s learning disabilities specialist nurse, Ruth Harrison.

Areas that could be bettered included improving staff awareness of the Mental Capacity Act, re-introducing a learning disability steering group and more support and training for the learning disability champions.

Jayne Leeson, boss of Changing Our Lives, said: “Sadly, it is still the case that people with a learning disability have poorer physical health than the general population, often through not getting adequate healthcare.

“So, it is really encouraging to find so many positive examples of good practice at Sherwood Forest Hospitals. Staff managers are clearly working hard to ensure that patients with learning disabilities receive access to good healthcare, just like everyone else.

“Their plans for the future and commitment to continually improve should result in better health outcomes.”