Alder Hey rated Good overall following CQC inspection

England’s chief inspector of hospitals has rated patient services at Alder Hey Children’s NHS Foundation Trust as Good following its latest inspection.

Having previously been inspected on April 2017, the overall rating has been maintained as Good, with the trust now being rated as Outstanding for being caring, Good for effective, responsive and well-led services, and Requires Improvement for being safe.

The Care Quality Commission (CQC) inspected five core services: critical care, community children’s services, end of life services, outpatients services and diagnostic imaging, finding a number of outstanding areas of practice, including an orthopaedic imaging system which is an innovative ultra-low dose x-ray imaging system that scans a patient while they are standing upright. This benefits children who need to be imaged frequently.

Additionally, the dental clinic demonstrated a number of innovations which included the wide-awake club for children with autism to receive care at quieter times, while the clinic included a nurse who was a learning disability champion, and staff had received training in interacting with children with individual needs.

Looking at the areas where the trust must improve, the CQC said that the trust needs to make sure that there are effective processes in place within outpatient services for ensuring patient records remain secure in all areas of the department, and that staff must have a thorough knowledge and awareness of the Mental Capacity Act 2005, including the implications for ensuring valid consent is obtained from patients aged under 16 years of age.

Louise Shepherd, Alder Hey’s chief executive, said: “The CQC has recognised the outstanding work that happens here every day at Alder Hey, which was strongly endorsed by the children, young people and families they spoke to. We are delighted that Alder Hey’s official overall rating remains Good with Outstanding for caring. This is a clear testament to the unstinting commitment of our fantastic staff, who are driven by a shared vision to do the very best for the children and young people we serve.”

Professor Ted Baker, Chief Inspector of Hospitals, said: “During our inspection we found that children were at the centre of the service at Alder Hey and we saw examples of the highest quality of care. The parents we met told us their children were treated with dignity and respect and had all their needs met by kind and caring staff who are truly outstanding.

“We were told that the level of information given to parents was often excellent. It is a credit to the staff that they managed to communicate complex information to families in a way they could understand and took their time to ensure they understood what was being said. Alder Hey has excellent clinical outcomes for children in some services. CQC has seen some outstanding care but the trust should focus on the areas for improvement that we have identified. We will continue to monitor the service and return at some time in the future to check on progress.”

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