Renal services at two of Cumbria's hospitals have come top in a national patient satisfaction survey.

The North Cumbria University Hospitals NHS Trust, which provides services for kidney patients at both the Carlisle and Whitehaven hospitals, came first out of 56 other renal centres in England.

The Patient Reported Experience Measures (PREM) survey was carried out by the UK Renal Registry and Kidney Care UK

It asked renal patients, many of whom receive regular kidney dialysis and may be waiting for transplants, a range of questions about their care - including access to a renal team, privacy and dignity, communications, support and decisions about care.

The trust topped the leader boards in several areas and also came in the top three in others.

In every area, the West Cumberland hospital and Cumberland Infirmary had improved on its previous year’s score and was also above the national average.

Dr Andrew Bow, clinical director for Renal services, said that demand for renal dialysis is soaring, and they are currently expanding the Whitehaven unit to keep up with demand.

“We are delighted with the results of the survey which is a real testament to the hard work of our team across both of our hospital sites. We know that nationally, demand for dialysis services is growing at six per cent per annum, therefore work is underway to ensure our services can meet this demand," he said.

"This includes the expansion of our dialysis unit at West Cumberland Hospital and working to provide more home dialysis, including home haemodialysis, which frees up capacity for those who require dialysis in a hospital setting and also offers many benefits to patients who are suitable to undertake their treatment at home.”

Ron Cullen, chief executive of the Renal Registry, added: “This survey provides an invaluable opportunity for the kidney community to take account of patient experience and use it as the starting point for quality improvement and change in how renal care is delivered.”

Stroke patients in the Furness area now have access to an innovative piece of kit, funded by donations from the local community.
Furness staff

The equipment aims to improve upper limb function in patients who have suffered a neurological event, such as a stroke.

Therapists at University Hospitals of Morecambe Bay NHS Foundation Trust (UHMBT) are trialling the SaeboGlove at Barrow's Furness General Hospital after its success at the Royal Lancaster Infirmary.

After a stroke occurs, an individual can experience a range of disabilities, which often includes the upper limbs.

Reduced movement, strength, and tone are common in the arm, as is reduced grip and dexterity in the hand. This is caused by the disruption in the connections between the brain and body.

Phil Woodford, associate director of corporate affairs at UHMBT, has a personal reason for making the kit available locally.

“As a stroke survivor myself who suffered from left-sided Hemi-paresis, the SaeboGlove - which was provided as part of my rehabilitation - has, I believe, been a large reason for why my progress in using my left hand has been successful," he said.

"I’m really pleased and proud that the trust, through the generosity of the public, have been able to invest in this equipment to assist the rehabilitation of not just stroke survivors but also for other neurological patients and some orthopaedic injuries."

The new equipment cost £8,600 and was purchased thanks to donations made to Bay Hospitals Charity.

The SaeboGlove assists in the positioning of the wrist and fingers into a position that encourages function and will allow the patient to work on activities such as picking up a cup.

There is also a small unit which uses electrical stimulation to target specific muscles and work on function.

Eva Banister, advanced physiotherapist at UHMBT, said: “The Saebo equipment really benefits patients who need help to re-develop movement in their upper limb following a stroke.

"The patient needs to already have a little movement in their arm, hand and fingers; however, the splint supports movement and positions the wrist and fingers in preparation for activity and assists the patient to re-open the hand to release objects.

"The patients of Morecambe Bay are extremely lucky to have the benefit of access to this innovative equipment from an early stage in their rehabilitation.”

Lorraine Weaver, advanced occupational therapist, added: “The SaeboGlove will give support to our patients’ upper limbs and give them more function and, most importantly, it will help to motivate patients and give them more positive outcomes.”

Mary Aubrey, director of governance, said they are one of only a few trusts in England that have the innovative Saebo treatment kits.

"This will greatly assist our stroke service in the rehabilitation of stroke patients with little upper limb movement," she added.

Bay Hospitals Charity is a registered charity, raising money to improve patient care and hospital experience at UHMBT.