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Hospital staff celebrate national accreditation

Staff at the Genito-urinary Medicine (GUM) Department in Bishop Auckland Hospital are celebrating after becoming the first in the region to achieve 'You're Welcome' accreditation. This accreditation is awarded by the Department of Health to highlight services which are young people friendly.

To achieve this status, the department had to meet a set of criteria, which involved reviewing aspects of the service, while keeping young people in mind.

The criteria included accessibility, environment, training of staff and publicity.

At the beginning of the process, staff used a toolkit to review how their current services met the 'You're Welcome' criteria. From these results, staff were able to identify areas of good practice to build on as well as where changes needed to be made and form an action plan as to how they were going to do this.

Throughout this process, staff have involved young people responding to their feedback and suggestions and, as a result, many improvements have been made to the service. For example, to promote the department to young people and make them aware of the services they provide, a leaflet aimed solely at young people was designed and a simple triage form was introduced rather than a patient needing to vocally provide their details and reason for attending at reception. 

The staff invited young people into the department in a 'mystery shopper' style piece of work to gain feedback and also carried out a survey on 100 users of the service. 99 surveys were returned and the results provided positive feedback particularly on staff attitude, confidentiality of the service and the environment.

The environment of the department has been made more welcoming to younger people. For example, alongside a new patient feedback board there is also a large notice board which provides young people with key information about the service.

Sue Thompson, Clinical Services Manager - Gynaecology and Sexual Health Women's, Children's and Sexual Health Division said: "Being awarded the 'You're Welcome' accreditation is a fantastic achievement for the GUM Department. It has formalised the great work the staff were already doing with young people. Staff have worked hard towards this and have enjoyed learning how services can be adapted to meet the needs of young people. Being the first in the region to receive the accreditation makes it an even greater achievement and is the recognition the team deserves."

Staff hope this recognition will give more young people the confidence to use the service should they need to, and have the knowledge that they will find a friendly sexual health service that meets their needs.

Jo Adlington, GUM Clinic Manager added: "Achieving the accreditation was hard work but it was a good experience because it really highlighted how well we were doing anyway but also areas where things could be improved or where we had things to learn. We've used this to enhance and improve the service so that we are able to deliver the best service we possibly can for young people, which what we all want to do."


'I have to compliment everyone on their pleasant persona and their expertise and knowledge. By the end of the 5 days, I did not feel as though I had been in a hospital ward and was very relaxed.'

Patient, Ward 16 Orthopaedics, University Hospital of North Durham