Thursday, 6 February 2014

Peter Homa, Chief Executive, Inspection report confirms our patients can be proud of their local hospitals.

Our inspection report confirms our patients and the people of Nottingham can be proud of their local hospitals. Our patients can have confidence in the quality of care being delivered at both Queen’s Medical Centre and Nottingham City Hospital.

The Care Quality Commission, the health and social care regulator, has judged that our services are safe, caring, effective, responsive and well-led.

The CQC said they observed many examples of compassionate care during their inspection. They found our staff to be hard working, caring and committed. They said many of our staff spoke with passion about their work and were proud of what they did. Patients are safe in our care.

I feel both proud and privileged to work at NUH with such talented and committed colleagues. Our patients (and the CQC) have praised the care we provide and the healthy, open culture we have developed at our hospitals. Patient safety and the delivery of good quality care are at the centre of all we do. This report shows we’re making good progress. I readily acknowledge that we do not always get things right. Where this happens, we always work hard to put things right and learn from this to avoid the same things happening again.

We were disappointed that CQC judged NUH as ‘high risk’ when they announced the inspection in spring 2013. I appreciate the distress this caused colleagues, patients and relatives and the disappointment of our staff, and we have communicated that to CQC.  The current more considered CQC view is that NUH is not ‘high risk’ and rather overall NUH is a ‘good trust.’

Our hospitals were among the first group of NHS trusts to be inspected under the CQC’s new inspection regime. The CQC inspection team now includes practicing doctors, nurses, managers, patients and other healthcare professionals. Our inspection team comprised over 60 inspectors. 

Professor Sir Mike Richards, the Chief Inspector of Hospitals, spent time at our hospitals during the inspection and was part of this important process. The inspection had both announced and unannounced elements to it and was more wide-ranging than anything we have experienced previously.

We always welcome scrutiny. It enables us to learn how we can further improve patient care. This is a consistent hallmark of NUH. I have to admit, NUH being judged ‘high risk’ was a low point in my career. Even allowing for all of the complexities and imperfections that come with running one of the country’s largest acute teaching trusts, this was a description of NUH I didn’t recognise. This is because I know most of our 14,000 staff and their commitment to providing excellent patient care often in challenging circumstances.

We saw the inspection as a valuable way to further improve our patient care. We have been able to influence the CQC’s evolving inspection model which will undoubtedly improve the quality and safety of NHS care across the country. We are using the CQC feedback to build on the extensive work already underway across our hospitals to improve the quality of care and patient safety. We have a strong track record for good clinical outcomes, improving safety year-on-year and are recognised as an organisation that is committed to continuous improvement.

The report shows us that we have much to be proud of and I hope reassures our patients and local community that they can have much confidence in the quality of care being delivered at NUH.

As a Trust committed to making continuous quality improvements, we work hard to learn from feedback we receive from patients and partner organisations. We can always do better. The inspection identified two areas which need quicker improvement, including attendance at mandatory training and accelerating our medical equipment maintenance programme. We are giving each of these areas very close attention and also addressing a number of other areas the CQC has advised we can do a better job for our patients, their relatives and carers.

We welcome all feedback, as it supplements that we receive from patients throughout the year from a range of sources, including complaints, surveys and serious incidents which occur in our hospitals.

The new-look inspections are, I believe, a big step in the right direction and one which will continue to improve standards of care for patients, which is what we are each here to do, regardless of our role.

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