A CARE Quality Commission inspection has found significant improvements at Worcestershire Acute Hospitals NHS Trust, which runs the Alexandra Hospital in Redditch.
At the Alex an overall rating of ‘Good’ for outpatient services (up from ‘Inadequate’ in 2017) was achieved and the highest rating – ‘Outstanding’ in the caring category for diagnostic imaging (up from ‘Good’ in 2017) where it said staff routinely exceeded patient expectations.
Worcestershire Royal Hospital received an overall rating of ‘Good’ for services for children and young people (up from ‘Requires Improvement’ in 2017).
Meanwhile every single service across the Trust are now rated at least ‘good’ for caring.
The CQC carried out the inspection in May and June this year and as a result the trust is now overall rated as ‘Requires Improvement’ up from ‘Inadequate’.
Although more improvement is needed, the Chief Inspector of Hospitals Professor Ted Baker has recommended the trust exits special measures, where it has been for four years, once a support package from NHS England is agreed and in place, something expected sooner rather than later.
Professor Baker said: “Staff and leaders at Worcestershire Acute Hospitals can be proud of the progress achieved. Our inspectors saw good and improved practice across the trust.
“At the Alexandra Hospital, Redditch, we saw progress. The hospital’s outpatient services supported patients to make informed decisions about their care.
“We also saw examples of outstanding practice in the hospital’s diagnostic imaging, where staff delivered excellent care based on people’s individual needs.
“However, work was required to ensure people always had timely access to the right care, including in emergency care at Worcestershire Royal Hospital.
“Some staff needed safeguarding and infection protection training, and staffing levels in some departments were not always adequate.”
The Trust’s chief executive Matthew Hopkins said: “I’m really pleased. This is great news for the people of Worcestershire and all our staff.”
He said the improvement had been forged on three key points:
1) Quality improvement and focusing on the world of the patient.
2) Cutting waste and waste production.
3) Better organisation, doing the right things in the right order.
“We have set ourselves and high bar and whilst thee has been improvement there is no doubt we still have work to do,” he said.
He added getting out of special measures would help with staff recruitment while moving patients in a timely manner would speed up ambulance handovers and reduce pressure on A&E.
Speaking on the Alexandra Hospital, he said: “There’s a real sense of pride among staff at the Alex.
“We want a vibrant hospital providing the right services for local people as well as offering countywide services for surgery.”