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Why West Suffolk?

Bury St Edmunds in Suffolk is a unique and dazzling historic gem. An important market town with a richly fascinating heritage, the striking combination of medieval architecture, elegant Georgian squares and glorious cathedral and abbey gardens provide a distinctive visual charm. With prestigious shopping, an award-winning market, plus variety of attractions and places to stay, Bury St Edmunds is under two hours from London and very convenient for Cambridge.

The county of Suffolk offers a mix of “commuter belt living”, rural countryside which hosts numerous festivals and is home to many artists and those wanting a real feeling of the countryside peppered with history and culture, and wonderful coastline designated an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty. 

Fact and figures about the Trust

West Suffolk NHS Foundation Trust (WSFT) provides hospital and some community health care services to the population of west Suffolk and is an associate teaching hospital of the University of Cambridge. We serve a predominantly rural geographical area of roughly 600 square miles with a population of around 280,000.

At our main site, the 430-bed West Suffolk Hospital, there is a purpose-built Macmillan Unit for the care of people with cancer, a dedicated eye treatment centre and a day surgery unit where children and adults are treated. Access to specialist services is offered to local residents by networking with tertiary centres, most notably Addenbrooke’s hospital in Cambridge.

The Trust has a turnover of £200 million and employs just over 3,000 staff.

Our achievements

Highest possible ‘Outstanding’ rating for WSFT

Here at the West Suffolk NHS Foundation Trust (WSFT), we have been ranked as one of the best acute hospitals in the country by regulators in our latest Care Quality Commission (CQC) inspection.

In January 2018 we were awarded the highest possible rating of ‘outstanding’ - one of just seven general hospitals in England, and the only one in the Midlands and East region, to hold the accolade.

Inspectors said:

  • ‘Staff truly respected and valued patients and individuals and empowered them as partners in their care, practically and emotionally, by offering an exceptional and distinctive service.’
  • ‘On all the wards we visited, staff displayed a culture of compassion and positivity, and had a genuine desire to want to provide the best possible care to patients.’
  • ‘Feedback from people who used the services, those who are close to them, and stakeholders, was continually positive about the way staff treated people. Staff were highly motivated and inspired to offer care that was kind and promoted people’s dignity.’

The Care Quality Commission visited the Trust in November 2017; we were rated outstanding for being caring, effective and well-led, and good for being safe and responsive.

The report also praised the Trust for its excellent cancer recognition and treatment times, and for having an excellent staff talent programme tailored to supporting leaders across all levels of the organisation – not just those traditionally seen as being senior figures.

Of the organisation’s leadership team, the CQC noted that the Trust had ‘compassionate, inclusive and effective leadership at all levels’, and that staff felt they were well supported to make positive changes and innovations.

The Trust was last inspected in March 2016, when it was rated as good overall. In its latest report, the CQC noted that that there had been a focus on improving care ‘across the organisation’.

You can read the full results of the Trust’s inspection here on the CQC website.

A ‘top hospital’ for safe, effective care

West Suffolk NHS Foundation Trust has been named as one of the country’s ‘top hospitals’ for providing safe, effective and high quality care for the second year running. The hospital was one of 40 from across the country to receive the accolade from independent healthcare intelligence company CHKS during its Top Hospitals 2016 awards ceremony in London in May 2016. It came following detailed analysis of 22 key areas covering clinical effectiveness, health outcomes, efficiency, patient experience and quality of care. Judges looked at a variety of data, including length of stay, hospital acquired infections, inpatient surveys and emergency readmission rates, before deciding which hospitals would receive the award. For the sixth consecutive year, West Suffolk was also one of just five hospitals shortlisted in the quality of care category. The trust won the title in 2011 and 2012.

Centre of global digital excellence

West Suffolk NHS Foundation Trust is to become a prestigious “centre of global digital excellence” after successfully bidding for a share of £100m in funding to further improve the way technology is used to benefit patients. The hospital was invited to bid for the money by NHS England after it was identified as one of the country’s 26 “most digitally advanced” trusts following the introduction of its electronic patient record, e-Care, earlier this year.

Over the next two years, up to £10 million of funding will be invested in accelerating the hospital’s existing plans to develop further its e-Care system. This will see the system fully integrated with those used by GPs other hospitals such as Addenbrooke’s, social services and other care providers so that everyone can share the same records, in turn avoiding duplication while making life easier for clinicians. In addition, a secure patient portal will be created to give patients access to their personal health records, allow them to view test results and send messages to their doctor, in turn ensuring they are fully involved in their own care.

Hip fracture care among the best in the country

The National Hip Fracture Database rates West Suffolk NHS Foundation Trust (WSFT) as top in the east of England for the care patients receive when attending with a hip fracture, and sixth nationally, up three places from last year. Hip fracture is the most common serious injury in older people, often resulting in lengthy hospital stays with only a minority of patients regaining their previous abilities and often needing long-term care.

An integrated staff team, including specialists from the emergency department, orthopaedics, elderly medicine and physiotherapy, work hard to deliver against best clinical practice guidelines. The team has introduced regular virtual fracture clinics at West Suffolk Hospital, a key part of the care given to patients attending with musculoskeletal injuries, where they assess patient needs together to identify immediate care needs and ensure they see the right specialist at the earliest opportunity.

WSFT achieved 85.1% in the best practice tariff*, the highest in the east region, against a national average of 65.6%. Records show that:

  • 100% of patients received a bone health assessment (national average 97.2%)
  • 88.2% of patients had surgery on the day of, or day after, admission (national average 71.5%)
  • 80.2% of patients were mobilised out of bed on the day after surgery (national average 76.1%)
  • The average overall length of stay in days was 17 (national average 21.1 days)

Top award for hospital’s patient meals

The Trust received a prized national accolade for its dedication to serving fresh, ethical and sustainable food to patients, visitors and staff. West Suffolk hospital was presented with the Soil Association’s Food for Life Catering Mark bronze award for the meals it serves in the Courtyard Café and Time Out restaurant. The award shows that the hospital uses fresh ingredients which meet nutritional guidelines and are free from additives and harmful trans-fats. All of the meat used by the hospital conforms with UK animal welfare standards and has earned the ‘Red Tractor’ farm assurance quality mark, while fish is certified by the Marine Stewardship Council and eggs are free range. To achieve the award, the hospital’s catering team reviewed its recipes and changed some of its ingredients, such as swapping milk powder for fresh milk in its cauliflower cheese. They also worked with their butcher to change the seasoning in their sausages, while increasing the meat content of the sausage rolls which are sold to staff so that they now contain over 80% pork.