South Tees Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust today welcomed the publication of the Care Quality Commission’s report following its inspection of the organisation in December 2014.
The trust was given an overall rating of ‘requires improvement’ for providing safe and effective care although inspectors found services were caring, responsive and well led and did not observe any examples of unsafe practice.
In total, 89 of the 105 individual ratings (84%) were either good or outstanding and a number of areas of excellent and outstanding practice were also identified, particularly in maternity services.
England’s chief inspector of hospitals Professor Mike Richards reported that inspectors’ ‘came across numerous examples of excellent care and that patients and their relatives were happy with their experience of care and treatment. Staff at every level were positive about working for the trust and the quality of care they provided.’
However he did raise concerns around staffing shortages and this continues to be a key area of priority for the trust, although improvements have already been made since the visit.
Chief executive Professor Tricia Hart said: “Naturally, as an organisation which is built on quality it is disappointing to be rated as ‘requires improvement’ but there are many positives to take from this report.
“Patients and their families spoke highly of the care they had received, which is reassuring, and I am pleased that staff have been publically recognised for the care they give.
“The CQC report is a rich source of information/feedback provided not only by independent inspectors but also from the patients who receive our services and the staff who provide them.
“We’ve already made changes since the inspection but there are opportunities to further improve. I’m confident that the organisation will respond positively to these, resulting in a better evaluation when the CQC visits us again.”
Picking up the staffing issue, Professor Hart added: “It is important to stress the inspectors did not observe unsafe practice in any areas they visited or indicate patient care had been compromised.
“Since the CQC visit, we have already made significant improvements to staffing levels, particularly overnight, and continue to push hard on band 5 nurse recruitment, recently employing nurses from Italy, Portugal and Romania, although this does remain a national issue.”
Several areas of outstanding practice were also cited in the report including:
- The role of therapeutic care volunteers in supporting patients with dementia or other illnesses
- Maternity services at both James Cook and the Friarage where the families and birth forum was involved in the design of the induction of the labour suite and also for the teams championing the take-up of breast-feeding rates through the use of peer supporters and information
- Community midwives piloted a ‘baby buddy’ mobile phone app to inform women of pregnancy issues, common ailments and reasons to seek advice
- Diabetes specialist nurses providing telephone support, advice and clinic sessions for patients with diabetes, supported by a dietician, and running the DESMOND (diabetes education and self-management for on-going and newly diagnosed) programme
- The care and involvement of young people including a young people’s unit, participation and accreditation to the You’re Welcome toolkit in four clinical areas, the development of a young person’s advisory group, inspections of services by young people and the involvement of young people in staff interviews.
The CQC’s findings were presented to the trust, along with commissioners and other public bodies, at a quality summit on Friday 5 June from which an action plan will be developed. The full report can be downloaded below.
Overview of ratings