Your chance to help shape standards at Norfolk's Community Hospitals

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Norfolk’s community NHS trust is looking for volunteers to assess its inpatient units across the county, helping to ensure they are welcoming, dementia friendly and serving nice food.

Each year, Norfolk Community Health and Care NHS Trust (NCH&C) carries out Patient Led Assessments of the Care Environment (PLACE), which involve members of the public scoring the quality of non-clinical services and the condition of buildings.

As part of their role, assessors talk to patients about their experiences, sample food, and visit NCH&C’s stroke units, palliative care centres and general inpatient units.

Sites are scored on Cleanliness, Environment, Food, Dementia Friendly Environment, Access and Privacy, Dignity & Wellbeing of patients.

Bev Goldthorpe, NCH&C’s Lead for Patient Environment, said: “It’s the chance to do something really valuable for your local community NHS services. Giving constructive, honest feedback helps us to make sure our community hospitals are welcoming, dementia friendly, serving nice food, and are easy to navigate for patients and visitors.

“By giving some of your spare time you can act as an advocate for patients, and the feedback we get is a very useful measure of how well we’re doing. It also highlights areas where there may be room for improvement.”

The annual assessments take place at Colman Hospital (Norwich); Benjamin Court (Cromer); Ogden Court (Wymondham); Cranmer House (Fakenham); and NCH&C’s community hospitals in Norwich, Dereham, Kelling, North Walsham, and Swaffham.

Volunteers may be asked to take part in one or more assessments, which can last from three to six hours, depending on the size of the site.

A training session for existing patient assessors and anyone interested in becoming a patient assessor has been scheduled for the morning of Thursday 16th February at Norwich Community Hospital. The assessments will take place from early March until mid-June.

“We look at environments from the patients’ perspective,” said Bev. “The results give us a clear picture of how our environment is seen by those using it, and how we can improve it. Our volunteers find it a really interesting experience.”

Applicants should be over 18 years old and are responsible for their own travel arrangements. Mileage costs are reimbursed at the current rate for volunteers.

Anyone interested in becoming a Patient Assessor is invited to contact Bev Goldthorpe on 01603 272601 or email:


Below are details of some of the projects undertaken by NCH&C over the last 12 months as a result of PLACE assessments: 

Kelling Hospital, Holt
The day therapy areas have recently been refurbished using dementia friendly guidance with further work completed to redecorate ward bays. A single room and a twin room bay have been turned into a three bed bay with an en-suite facility to enhance privacy and dignity.

Swaffham Community Hospital
Swaffham Hospital has benefitted from major refurbishment. Out-patient areas have been refurbished to a very high standard and the ward has been re-decorated with dementia-friendly signage installed to improve way-finding. 

Ogden Court, Wymondham
Ogden Court – a project to improve privacy and dignity has been completed. This included new bedroom doors installed with vision panels, Silentia screening to physiotherapy area, and window film fitted to social areas and some bedrooms to enhance privacy. Bedrooms, corridors and social areas were all redecorated. Dementia friendly signage was installed in all areas, and all directional signage was improved.

Dementia Friendly Clocks
176 clocks have been placed in NCH&C wards, quiet rooms and waiting areas. These are large faced, analogue clocks which display the time, day and date.

Guest Wi-Fi
We have installed Wi-Fi for patients who, as part of their rehabilitation, can be with us for a lengthy period, and now have guest Wi-Fi for all our in-patients and out-patients at our larger sites. 


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