Me in evening suit (Cruise 2019) 1



I serve on many committees and charitable bodies, but the one I set above all others is the PLACE assessment scheme.

Having served for over 5 years now as a patient assessor, I can honestly say that this is the one body which can clearly show that there is a direct link between the faults found one year are addressed by our next visit the following year.

The co-organiser, Reza Miah, more than has his hands full, but always somehow comes up trumps for PLACE.

The PLACE scheme often requires a high number of active patient assessors (depending on the size of the location to be assessed). The scheme always welcomes new patient assessors, who are trained to the standard required. Even with this training, they will always be in a team with more experienced assessors to help ease them in.

The greatest compliment to an assessment team is when we are asked to carry out PLACE assessments outside of our remit, for example hospitals both within the private sector, and in the NHS.

I highly recommend joining this team to anyone who really wants to have an input in the improvement of services provided to patients.







For PLACE this site proved a challenge. Once again, we had been asked if we could help a hospital from outside our normal range, and provide an assessment for them, as their own patients, by nature of their ailment, are unable to do so themselves.

As this was a very small hospital, there was only one team, where there were only a minimum number of patients, and only one ward in operation. Therefore this team, which was one of the smallest and strongest ones we had ever fielded, with four of our most experienced patient assessors, Reza our team co-ordinator, and a couple of the Mildmay team observing and contributing.

There were only a minimum number of patients, and only one ward in operation throughout our visit.


At first it seemed that the comments made by assessors were seen as being attacking the hospital, as this site had not worked with external assessors like us before, but after a while things continued, but some strong opinions were worked through.

The Mildmay had some excellent services and support operations. Here are a few of them:

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As usual the first step following the introductions, was the briefing. This was carried out in the Diana, Princess of Wales Board Room, which became our base of operations.

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It didn’t take long for us to view the small area in use.

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The Multi-Cultural Prayer Room was clearly a focus in the hospital, as it should be, because this hospital was known many years ago as “The Mildmay Mission” and was run by Nuns, it was also the first hospital dedicated to those with HIV and Aids.

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As there was only the one team, food tasting changed into our Lunch.

After lunch, as usual, the verbal reviews were gone through, with some strong opinions being expressed.

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After the usual closing documents, we all made for home.

If you would like more information on the work of the PLACE teams, or would like to consider joining our ranks, please complete the contact form below, and we’ll come back to you.


Thus all PLACE assessments are now complete for 2019 – But 2020 isn’t far off!

We wish you all a very Merry Xmas,

and a healthy, wealthy and happy new year for 2020







This hospital is one which is in the progress of refurbishment. Therefore there are areas newly refurbished, and some still awaiting refurbishment. The differences are considerable.

As usual both days started with the usual briefings. Here are some shots of this. On the 13th there were four teams and on14th there were three.

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The areas assessed were wide-spread with many exterrnal areas as well as the internal clinics and wards. This will give you an idea of some.

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During this assessment we noticed many improvements since last year, specially with the range of external areas.

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We also noticed many more improvements within buildings, along with memory aids like the reminiscence room.

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Our teams were seen  assessing most areas, but I can only photograph one team at a time!

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After the walkabout assessment, some teams carried out food tasting, tasting the same food that is given to the patients. We also check that patients are ready for their meal, and that the suspension of all medical and administration actions are enforced to allow patients to eat their meal in peace and quiet.

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After food tastings, the teams return to their base to have lunch.

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After lunch, there are the verbal reviews:

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Once the final statements that the assessors were not placed under unfair influence in their assessments, it is home time.

As this is the last of the scheduled assessments of the year, here is a slideshow of the most important thing, the people who carry out the assessments and the invisible people behind the scenes that you will not see.

Here is a slideshow of just some of the people involved over this year’s assessments from many sites who should be thanked:

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Here are some more:

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If your face is not here I’m sorry – it’s almost impossible to list all of the people concerned.

For the main body of the assessors, PLACE is now over for this year. For just a small team of around four we still have one more assessment to carry out next week, at the Mildmay Mission Hospital. That will be reported on this site next week.





Cromwell Hospital front view 1

One of the greatest compliments a PLACE team can have is when a hospital outside our network requests us to support their own assessments. This is magnified when we are invited to support a private hospital, let alone one as elite as the BUPA Cromwell Hospital.

The PLACE at the BUPA Cromwell Hospital was held over 6th and 7th November 2019. This was the second time that this hospital had invited us to support their own teams.

There is a considerable culture shock when switching from NHS assessments to the assessment of an elite private hospital.

On the first day, we were seperated into two teams. The pre assessment briefings were almost identical to those used in the DHS.

Immediately we realised that there was a totally different funding system. With the NHS every penny has to be balanced between patient care, logistics and admin. In the private sector the heart of their finances are based on the patients care and requirements.

We started to assess the wards.

Then came the food tasting. (slightly different to the NHS). In the private sector Patients are presented the meal of their choice and dine in privacy (which we appreciated). After our own lunch we continued reviewing the wards, and the final paperwork and statements were carried out.

The ‘wards’ (the inverted commas are as the wards look more like many hotels) were arranged by floor. On the first day the wards were assessed, so here is a slide show showing some photo’s from day 1:

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On day two, there was only one large team, and the communial areas were assessed. This included the in-house pharmacy, reception, cafe, toilets, and entrance hall. We were also able to speak to a patient whilst her lunch was being served, (the lady did permit a photo to he taken). We also took a look at the staff restaurant (which is also open for visitors). Here are some shots of day 2:

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All of the patient assessors thanked the many hospital staff who made us feel so welcome, here are just some of them:

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We look forward to seeing them next year.

If you would like more information on becoming a PLACE assessor, or would like to join our ranks, please use the contact form below.






The 30th and 31st of October saw the PLACE teams taking on one of the countries largest and most famous teaching hospitals, The Roal London Hospital, and this assessment ended with a totally unexpected surprise for all of the patient assessors. What was it – just keep reading!

There were 4 teams, slightly larger than those used at other locations. This gave the teams the chance to split up and cover larger areas faster.

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As well as the usual assessments being carried out, Teams 1, 2 and 3 met up with a dietician and carried out the sampling of the food as given to patients, they also carried out a monitoring of  just how the food was served and ensuring that at meal times all other activities are stopped to enable the patients to have their meals in peace. These teams also ensure that those patients who require help with eating receive it. These teams all monitored different wards.

There were many areas that these teams carried out main assessements on, here are a few:

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To give you some idea of the size of this assessment here are just some of the great work which has been done to improve the experience of patients during their stay in hospital. Some are new and some from a year or two ago.

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Just to give you an idea of just how many assessors were required to assess this hospital, here are some photos of the teams during early briefings and during the verbal feedback sessions.

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As usual, teams carryout the scoring of each area in a quiet place in the ward/clinic in order to enable them to check any detail they may have missed on the spot, to ensure that they make an accurate assessment.


It is once all of the paperwork had been stowed away, the patient assessors were invited to a very special and rare treat. We were warned to put our coats as it could be a bit cold and windy, and we were asked to follow someone we had not met before.


We were directed into a lift we had never seen before, or if we had it would have been out of bounds. Once we were all in he pressed the button for the top floor.

Once we were there, we were asked to wait a moment whilst they checked clearance.


It was only then we realised that the doors behind us led to the ramp leading to the Helicopter Landing Area at the very top of the hospital. We were then told that as a thanks for all of our voluntary work, we would now be taken onto the ramps that lead up to the helipad.

After a series of safety instructions, we were told that the Helicopter Emergency Medical Service helicopter will be arriving in about fifteen minutes,  without any patient on, so we should be safely able to go onto the helipad for about ten minutes. We would then be asked to leave the helipad.

As we started to walk up the 3 ramps, we stopped at the windsock, and was asked if anyone was feeling ill, and telling us that this is where we will meet up after our visit to the helipad, and that if requested we should be prepared to leave the helipad urgently we should go back to this airsock level, only one level beneath the helipad level.

Here are some shots of us on the helipad:

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After about ten minutes, our escort took us all to the windsock level where we waited. We were told which direction the helicopter will be coming from. We eventually spotted a dot on the landscape, which grew and grew until it was obviously the HEMS helicopter. On approaching the helipad the helicopter went right over our head. We could have reached up to touch it.

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This was really a fantastic way for the hospital to say thanks for all of our work.


If you are interested in becoming a patient assessor, (training is provided) or would like information on the PLACE scheme, please use the contact form below.