Health watchdog orders improvements at Sunderland Royal Hospital
Hospital chiefs in Sunderland and South Tyneside have been ordered to make improvements to their maternity and medical care wards.
The Care Quality Commission (CQC) says the rating for medical care at Sunderland Royal Hospital has declined from “good” to “requires improvement” while maternity services remains rated as “requires improvement”.
The rating for medical care at South Tyneside District Hospital has dropped from “good” to “requires improvement” – with maternity services rated as “good”.
The overall rating for South Tyneside and Sunderland NHS Foundation Trust has now declined from "good” to “requires improvement”.
The ratings follow two unannounced inspections by the health watchdog in June and August in response, it says, to concerns raised about the safety and quality of the services.
Leaders the Trust say they are “accelerating” improvements already underway and that it remains rated “good” for caring for patients,who told inspectors that their care was “amazing” and that “staff were excellent”.
Areas identified by the CQC for improvement include:
:: How risks are recorded, managed and escalated throughout the organisation.
:: How the Trust operates more effective governance processes.
:: How people with mental health needs or a learning disability are cared for.
The CQC also highlighted the very challenging staffing position at the Trust - particularly in maternity services and on acute medical wards over the past year and acknowledged that there was effective leadership within the organisation.
Sarah Dronsfield, CQC deputy director of operations in the north, said: “During our inspection in June, we found concerns relating to patient safety in the two services we visited, particularly around the management of risk.
"We shared these concerns with the Trust’s senior leadership team and the board provided details of the immediate action that would be taken to address them.
“However, during our inspection in August, we carried out a second inspection to check whether the Trust had addressed, embedded and sustained the improvements required.”
She added: “We found the trust had made some improvements but had not addressed all of the areas of concern and also identified further breaches of regulation during our review of how well-led the trust is.
“The leadership team have taken our concerns seriously and have shared their improvement plan with us and have provided regular updates on their progress.
"We will continue to monitor the trust to ensure it’s putting the improvements that are needed in place and will return to check on progress.”
The inspectors said they were satisfied that senior leaders had the necessary knowledge, skills and abilities to effectively lead the trust and staff were committed to continually learning and improving services.
Trust chief executive Ken Bremner said work was already underway to make the required improvements and acknowledged efforts of staff.
He said: “There is no doubt that the past two years have been incredibly tough but there can be no excuses.
"Our vision is for ‘excellence in all that we do’ and this shows we still have work to do.
"The CQC has shone a welcome and helpful light on areas where we need to improve.
“Despite all the challenges we face, people will always be treated with empathy and the utmost care and kindness and I want to thank our amazing staff for that."
To read the full report, go to https://www.cqc.org.uk/provider/R0B