UHNM deemed as requiring improvement

The University Hospitals of North Midlands NHS Trust has been rated as Requires Improvement following a Care Quality Commission inspection.

A series of visits took place between June and August last year, with the CQC inspecting services at Royal Stoke University Hospital and County Hospital in Stafford. These services included: urgent and emergency care, medical care, surgery, maternity and gynaecology, children and young people's services and end of life care; and they carried out an inspection under CQC's question of whether the service is well-led.

Inspectors found that several improvements are needed at the trust since their last visit in October 2017. As a result, the trust’s rating remains as Requires Improvement overall, but Good for whether services are caring.

The trust has been told it must make several improvements including: all staff must be up to date with mandatory training across services; patient privacy must be maintained within urgent and emergency care; patient observations must be completed in medical care within required timeframes to monitor potential deterioration of health; sufficient numbers of suitably qualified, competent, skilled and experienced staff must be deployed in urgent and emergency services; and systems for monitoring patient outcomes and key performance indicators in outpatients must be comprehensive and reliable.

Tracy Bullock, chief executive of the trust, said: "Having been a new CEO at the time of the inspection, I am pleased to say that in the nine months since the CQC visits first took place significant improvements have been made across our hospitals. This is most notable within the Emergency Department where we have recruited 27 additional nurses, 15 additional doctors, increased the size of the department and put a strengthened process in place to triage our patients to the right place for their care in a timely way.

"It's good to see that the CQC inspectors have recognised some of the outstanding practice across our hospitals particularly within our children's and young people's services which offer tremendous care to children across Staffordshire and beyond. As a team we are already looking forward to the next inspection as we are confident that the CQC will be assured that not only have we made good progress in the areas they identified as requiring improvement, we have also continued to build on our many strengths with a view to providing the best possible services for our patients."

Ted Baker, CQC’s Chief Inspector of Hospitals, said: “On our return to The University Hospitals of North Midlands NHS Trust we found a number of improvements were needed. The trust must ensure it continues make changes that will lead to sustainable improvements, so that people receive the care they should be able to expect.

“We found significant concerns regarding the care and treatment of patients in the emergency department at Royal Stoke Hospital. During busy periods, we were not assured that there were enough staff available to manage patients safely in the corridor. Staff did not follow a consistent approach to monitoring and recording observations.

“Governance systems, although embedded, were over-complicated and unreliable. However, we found that the newly appointed chief executive was undertaking extensive work to improve these systems. Despite improvements being needed across some services, we also found examples of outstanding practice, most notably in children and young people’s services. We have given our feedback to the trust and we will return to carry out further inspections to check on its progress with improvement.”

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