Sunderland health trust rated '˜good' but safety requires improvement

The trust which runs Sunderland Royal Hospital has been rated as 'good' by health inspectors, although its levels of safety 'require improvement'.

Wednesday, 22nd August 2018, 5:12 pm
Updated Wednesday, 22nd August 2018, 5:15 pm
Sunderland Royal Hospital

England’s Chief Inspector of Hospitals has rated the services provided by City Hospitals Sunderland NHS Foundation Trust as good, following an inspection by the Care Quality Commission.

A team of inspectors visited the Royal in April and May, inspecting its emergency department, medical wards, surgery and maternity.

Chief executive of City Hospitals Sunderland NHS Foundation Trust Ken Bremner.

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Overall the trust, which is in the process of merging with South Tyneside NHS Foundation Trust, has been rated good for being effective, caring, responsive and well-led, and requires improvement for safety.

CQC bosses said that they have now told the trust that they “must ensure there are enough” staff on wards.

The Chief Inspector of Hospitals Professor Ted Baker said: “At their last comprehensive inspection in September 2014, City Hospitals Sunderland NHS Foundation Trust was rated as Good.

“I am pleased to note the improvement in responsiveness across the trust and that the trust retains its overall rating.

“We found that access to services was generally good and that there were positive examples of collaborative work to respond to the needs of patients when being discharged or transferred from hospital.

“It was encouraging to see that the average length of stay was lower than the national average for some patient groups.

“However we have informed the trust that they must ensure there are enough qualified and experienced nurses and doctors on the wards in order to deliver safe care for patients.“

The CQC said there had been consistently low levels of nurse staffing on some wards.

Infection prevention and control policies were not always followed and inspectors saw some nursing and medical staff wearing false nails and were not bare below the elbow.

Additionally, there was inconsistency around medicines management.

The Trust has become the first in the North East to undergo a new combined inspection by the CQC and NHS Improvement (NHSI), the national body responsible for overseeing NHS Foundation Trusts.

Chief executive of City Hospitals Sunderland NHS Foundation Trust and South Tyneside NHS Foundation Trust Ken Bremner said: “The outcome of our first combined inspection is positive news for staff and patients.

“It provides strong reassurance that despite a very challenging time for the NHS and changes within our local healthcare system as we transform clinical services, we continue to provide some of the best quality of care anywhere in the NHS.

“To sustain such a positive overall performance is testament to the hard work and efforts of our teams who are working under intense pressure day-in, day-out, to provide the highest quality of care and experience for our patients. As always, there are also some clear learning points and immediate actions that we will take away from the report and rectify with immediate effect.

“As we look to the future and our proposed merger with South Tyneside NHS Foundation Trust, we share the same strategic ambition to become rated as an ‘outstanding’ healthcare provider in the years ahead and will continue to strive for excellence in everything we do for our patients.”

John Anderson, chairman of City Hospitals Sunderland NHS Foundation Trust said: “To achieve a combined ‘good’ rating for quality of care and our use of resources is excellent news for the people of Sunderland and simply would not have been possible without the commitment and dedication of our staff.

“Despite a very challenging financial climate and pressures within the NHS, we are very encouraged to receive such a positive rating from our regulators on our use of resources who have recognised the tremendous efforts being made to ensure we can continue to provide high quality, efficient and sustainable care for our patients.

“We fully expect demand to grow even further as our population gets older and we manage the inevitable pressures and costs of advances in medicine, technology and drugs.

“The Path to Excellence programme of clinical transformation is critical to securing long-term stability as we continue to plan together with South Tyneside NHS Foundation Trust to build a sustainable healthcare system that is fit for the future.”