Fundraising, Marketing & GP Liaison Manager
Tetbury Hospital Trust Ltd
With the continuing use of face masks globally we have recognised, more so than ever, the importance of communication with adults and children with a disability, including hearing impaired patients who lip read. We have therefore designed an environmentally friendly clear face mask with a removable Perspex screen for infection control purposes.
In the late 1980s Tetbury Hospital was part of the NHS service, but it faced closure, so the local community and surrounding areas raised over £1 million to buy the hospital and save it from closure. We became Tetbury Hospital Trust Ltd and an independent charity. We are a small community hospital, our aim has always been to deliver the best in care, and our charitable objective is to provide integrated, seamless healthcare for the people and local communities we serve, that is safe, effective, and centered around the patient. We help people who need expert care, including patients with physical and learning disabilities. Our services include Minor Injuries Unit, X-ray Department, Outpatient Department, Day Surgery Unit. We pride ourselves in providing a calm, welcoming environment with highly experienced staff and consultants, who are passionate about caring for patients. Last year we saw 16,091 patients across all departments. Over 95% of our services are delivered on behalf of the NHS, although as an independent charity we are not eligible to apply for NHS funding. So, our dedicated fundraising team, The Friends of Tetbury Hospital, work incredibly hard to raise funds to enable us to buy vital new and replacement medical equipment and we are so grateful for their enduring support.
Before we encountered the global pandemic, our staff greeted patients with a big smile and warm welcome. The warm welcome continues, as always, but the smile became lost behind a face mask. Not only this but if you are a patient with a disability and need to lip read or attend the hospital with an anxious child, a mask is not your best friend! When our Minor Injuries Nurse, Martina, consulted a child with a disability and found communicating a challenge, whilst wearing a face mask, she realised something needed to be done as soon as possible to rectify the situation. She asked me to source clear masks, and so with this in mind I approached a friend who designed for us an innovative clear face mask with removable Perspex screen. Each member of staff will have their own mask that can we washed at 60 degrees and has a removable Perspex screen that can we wiped after use and replaced when necessary. We also have masks in child friendly fabric, to use as a distraction.
Our masks are being utilised by our Minor Injuries Unit and staff across our hospital departments. This means that now patients with a disability attending Tetbury Hospital can be confident in communicating with staff. As we have only just received our masks, we do not have extensive evaluation and evidence, however verbal feedback and patient testimonials so far have been incredibly positive. We are sharing our innovative design with The Barnwood Trust, Gloucester, to assist with their ‘Let’s Be Clear’ campaign. Testers across various chosen charities will trial our new masks and offer feedback
The clear mask helped my visit massively as I suffer with hearing loss and to be able to read lips was fantastic, a great design. Helpful staff and if it helps people in the future that's great.
(Relative of patient, Oct 20)