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Trust responds to CQC report publication

The success of hospital staff across Worcestershire in improving the quality and safety of care provided to hundreds of thousands of local patients every year has been recognised by hospital inspectors.

In a report published today by the Care Quality Commission (CQC), Worcestershire Acute Hospital NHS Trust’s overall rating has been lifted from ‘Inadequate’ to ‘Requires Improvement’.

The CQC report also recommends that because of the improvements they have seen, the Trust should be considered for exiting special measures once a package of support from NHS England/Improvement is agreed and in place across the Worcestershire health economy.

Trust Chief Executive Matthew Hopkins says this is well-deserved recognition for the hard work and dedication of staff across all the Trust’s hospitals.

“When I joined the Trust at the start of this year, I was immediately struck by the quality and the commitment of colleagues across our hospitals. It is their focus on continuous improvement, and their growing confidence in their ability to tackle the challenges we face that has made the difference,” he explains.

“Today we have taken a really important step forward. We know we have a lot more to do, but these improved ratings are a clear and very encouraging sign that our efforts are paying off.

“That is good news for our patients, good news for our staff and good news for everyone in the communities we care for.

“Our Trust has been in special measures since December 2015 so this is important recognition that we are now able to find our own solutions to the challenges we face.”

The CQC’s report shows improved ratings in 41 out of 79 categories rated, including double rating uplifts in 9 areas, across a wide range of clinical services they inspected at the Alexandra, Evesham, Kidderminster and Worcestershire Royal Hospitals.

In their overview, the inspectors point to improvements in areas including medicines management, infection control, incident reports and sharing learning. They add “Local and divisional leadership had improved and staff were engaging with the Trust’s improvement journey.”

Among the most significant improvements highlighted are:

  • Every single service across all hospitals are now rated at least ‘good’ for caring.
  • At the Alexandra Hospital, an overall rating of ‘Good’ for outpatient services (up from ‘Inadequate’ in 2017) and the highest rating – ‘Outstanding’ in the caring category for diagnostic imaging (up from ‘Good’ in 2017).
  • At Kidderminster Hospital, an overall rating of ‘Good’ (up from ‘Inadequate’ in 2017).
  • At Worcestershire Royal Hospital an overall rating of ‘Good’ for services for children and young people (up from ‘Requires Improvement’ in 2017).

Matthew Hopkins adds: “As well as providing independent expert evidence of the improvements we have made, today’s report also helps to confirm that we are have correctly identified those areas where more focus is needed.

“Improving patient flow is essential if we are to ease the pressure on our Emergency Departments, reduce waits and improve ambulance handovers.

“That requires the active involvement not just of teams across all parts of our Trust but also the support of our partners in the rest of the local health and care system to help reduce demand and ensure that patients can be discharged or moved to other care settings in a safe and timely way.

“In some areas for improvement highlighted in the report, we have already made further progress – for example improving our mandatory training compliance.

“In others, not least in delivering a sustainable solution to our major financial difficulties, we know further immediate action is necessary because we have to find ways of reducing waste, improving efficiency and delivering the best possible value for the hundreds of millions of pounds of taxpayers’ money that we are trusted with each year.

“While we saw overall ratings improve at the Alexandra, Kidderminster and Worcestershire Royal, disappointingly we also saw an overall decline in ratings at Evesham.

“We have already taken action to address some of the issues highlighted around compliance with surgical safety checks, infection control and mandatory training. In addition, some of the service changes that we are planning for the Evesham site will further support improvements to quality and safety.

“In all our hospitals and across all our services we are focussed on our purpose of Putting Patients First and that purpose is underpinned by a clear vision and set of strategic objectives.

“We are working hard to put plans in place that will support continuous improvement and sustainability to quality and safety, help our clinical services adapt to meet the changing needs of local people and enable us to live within our means and free up the funding we need to invest in further improvements.

“There is a lot we have to do, but today’s report is proof that together, our people can deliver the hospital services that local people want and deserve.  We are very proud of today’s success, and will use it to build an even better future.”

You can download and read the CQC's report in full here: https://www.cqc.org.uk/sites/default/files/new_reports/AAAJ3438.pdf