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CQC calls for improvements but praises quality of care


Frontline staff at NGH have been praised by the Care Quality Commission for their kindness and compassion shown to vulnerable people, the good care they provide to patients and the high quality interactions between patients and staff.

The CQC also found that staff were actively engaged in improvement initiatives and there was shared learning from incidents.

Professor Ted Baker, CQC Chief Inspector of Hospitals, said ‘Although Northampton General Hospital NHS Trust maintained Good ratings in some areas, there others where it was not meeting standards seen previously.  However, staff were caring.  They treated people respectfully with kindness and compassion, helping them emotionally when required such as following baby loss.  Services were responsive, meaning people could generally access services when they needed, and staff worked as a cohesive team to benefit patients.’

CQC inspectors visited NGH in June and July 2019 to assess the quality of three core services – urgent and emergency care, medical care and maternity.  They also assessed whether the trust was well-led and using its resources productively.

In a report published today (24 October 2019) the CQC rated NGH ‘Good’ for having Caring, Effective and Responsive services, but Requires Improvement’ for having Well-led and Safe services. 

Despite the relentless pressure experienced by the emergency department, and elsewhere in the hospital, the emergency department continues to be rated as ‘Good’.  Maternity and medical care were assessed as ‘Requires Improvement’

Therefore, this means that NGH has been rated as ‘Requires Improvement’ overall.

Dr Sonia Swart, chief executive, said ‘I would like to thank every member of TeamNGH whose commitment to providing compassionate care has quite rightly been recognised by the Care Quality Commission.  Thanks to the dedication and hard work of our staff the CQC has rated our services as ‘Good’ for being caring, responsive and effective.

'Of course we’re disappointed, given our previous overall rating of ‘Good’.  However, we know that, since our last CQC inspection, we’ve seen unprecedented levels of activity as demand for our services has risen.  This has impacted on our ability to sustain and improve our services even further.  We know there is more we have to do and this is reflected in our overall rating by the CQC as ‘Requires Improvement’.  As an organisation that is focused on continuous improvement, it offers us an opportunity to reflect and take forward learning and good practice across the trust.

'Our challenge now is to bring this focus on to the way our staff work with another.  If we could translate the way we care for patients to the way we care for one another, that would be better for both our staff and, ultimately, our patients.

'I look forward to working with everyone in TeamNGH, our patients and partners in the local health and social care system as we continue to address those areas identified by the CQC where we know we need to do better.’

The CQC found a number of examples of outstanding practice, including NGH being the first hospital in the UK to be awarded Pathway to Excellence accreditation; our collaboration with the University of Northampton to develop a Masters-level programme in quality improvement; being accredited by UNICEF UK as a baby-friendly hospital for the second time and being the only maternity service in the East Midlands to successfully demonstrate compliance against all ten maternity safety actions set out by the clinical negligence scheme for trusts (CNST) maternity incentive scheme, launched by NHS Resolution in 2018.

Areas for improvement

Key areas of focus for improvement are:

  • Capacity within our paediatric emergency facilities
  • The management of medicines, equipment, clinical waste and hazardous chemicals
    • Acting on, monitoring and sharing learning from incidents, patient safety alerts and complaints
    • Improving mandatory training uptake
    • Access to care for our patients and achieving national performance targets
    • Ensuring our staff are kept fully informed and their views are taken into account

Dr Swart added:  ‘We’re already taking action to make improvements in the areas highlighted by the CQC.  Our processes for the management of medicines, equipment, clinical waste and hazardous chemicals have been reviewed and improved.  Over the summer we’ve been working on a significant level of increased support for our workforce, many of whom are very much involved in helping develop our new People Strategy.   I know that everyone at TeamNGH is committed to providing the best possible care and that, together, we will continue to do our best to deliver outstanding care for our patients and a positive work experience for our staff.’

Posted on Thursday 24th October 2019
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