South Warwickshire hospitals get rating upgraded

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Glen Burley, chief executive of the South Warwickshire NHS Foundation Trust, with healthcare assistants Richard Bragg and Tracey Owen; Angie Jones, oncology co-ordinator; Joanne Bell, oncology sister; Emma Jefkins, staff nurse; Connie Bowry, senior healthcare assistant, at the new Stratford-upon-Avon Hospital.

THE trust that runs south Warwickshire’s hospitals has had its performance rating upgraded.

Inspectors from the Care Quality Commission (CQC) have rated South Warwickshire NHS Foundation Trust has ‘good’ overall, two years after it was somewhat controversially judged as ‘requiring improvement’.

Although it remains rated as ‘requires improvement’ for whether services are safe.

Inspections took place in December and January, drawing criticism from chief executive Glen Burley at the time for taking place at what he described as the busiest period in his 11 years at the helm.

The CQC published its findings today, Thursday, which said that there are a number of areas of outstanding practice, with inspectors highlighting maternity services and end-of-life care services, as well as the support provided to people using these services.

Chief inspector of hospitals, Professor Ted Baker, said: “On our return to South Warwickshire NHS Foundation Trust we found a number of improvements had been made since our previous inspection and the trust is now rated as ‘good’ overall.

“However there were areas where the trust must make further improvements. Work is particularly needed at the trust to ensure it does everything it can and has the right processes in place to ensure all of its services are safe.

“We have reported all our findings back to the trust and the trust board knows what it must do to bring about further improvement. We will continue to monitor progress at the trust and this will include further inspections.”

Mr Burley said: “I have always known that our teams deliver first class care, so I am delighted that we now have a rating more reflective of the high quality services we provide.

“The CQC report highlights lots of positive findings, which I am extremely proud of. We should however strive for even higher standards and to support this we are taking on board all of the points raised by the CQC and addressing their recommendations.

“We are also reviewing our strategy and firmly placing innovation at the heart of everything we do. We employ some of the most dedicated, talented and compassionate staff in the country and this is what makes the trust so special.”

Russell Hardy, trust chairman, said: “It is fantastic that the trust is now formally recognised by the CQC for the high quality services it provides. I would like to take this opportunity to thank not only the teams at the trust, but all of the dedicated volunteers that tirelessly support us and provide vital services.”

Among the improvements the trust has been told to make include that it must ensure staff are compliant with the safe storage and administration of medicines in medical care services, daily checks of emergency equipment, controlled medicines and medicine storage temperatures must be completed and that there is a system for ensuring daily checks are completed in maternity services.

Surgery checklists and swab counts must be completed in line with trust and national guidance in maternity services and patient risk assessment documentation, including venous thromboembolism risk assessments and sepsis screening, must completed.

The trust has been told staff must be compliant with effective infection control and prevention techniques in the emergency department and medicine care services.

Staffing numbers must also be appropriate to meet clinical demands, including the provision of a suitably qualified children’s nurse in the emergency department.

The trust was rated as ‘requiring improvement’ following an inspection in 2016, but it appealed.

The CQC accepted that there were some procedural weaknesses in their inspection and that there was evidence of some unduly harsh ratings judgements, and a re-inspection a year later resulted in changes to two of the ratings, but not the overall rating.

Mr Burley said at the time he was still not satisfied and requested a re-inspection as soon as possible, prompting the unannounced inspections in December at January.

The trust runs hospitals in Warwick, Stratford-upon-Avon, Shipston-on-Stour, and Leamington Spa.