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CQC calls for improvements but praises kind and compassionate care


Frontline staff at Oxford University Hospitals (OUH) care for patients with compassion and kindness, and feedback from patients about the way staff treat them is consistently positive, according to the national watchdog for health and social care.

The Care Quality Commission (CQC) also says that OUH staff provide emotional support to patients to minimise their distress and that staff involve patients and those close to them in decisions about their care and treatment.

CQC's Deputy Chief Inspector of Hospitals, Dr Nigel Acheson, said: "I am pleased to note that the Trust has a strong and engaged workforce who worked together for the benefit of patients."

CQC inspectors visited OUH in November and December 2018 and January 2019 to assess the quality of five core services - urgent and emergency care, medical care, surgery, maternity and gynaecology.

The CQC also looked specifically at management and leadership to assess whether the Trust was well-led and NHS Improvement assessed whether the Trust was using its resources productively.

In a series of reports published today (Friday 7 June) the CQC rated OUH 'Good' for having Caring, Responsive and Effective services but 'Requires Improvement' for having 'Well-led' and 'Safe' services.

Therefore this means that OUH has been rated as 'Requires Improvement' overall.

Dr Bruno Holthof, Chief Executive of Oxford University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, said: "I would like to thank all staff whose compassion and kindness has quite rightly been recognised by the Care Quality Commission. Thanks to their dedication and hard work, the CQC has rated our services as 'Good' for being caring, responsive and effective.

"However, we recognise that we are only part way through a journey to improvement and this is reflected in our overall rating by the CQC as 'Requires Improvement'.

"We look forward to working together with our staff, patients, Foundation Trust governors and partners in the local health and social care system to continue to address those areas identified by the CQC where we know we need to do better." 

Areas for improvement

Following the inspections, the CQC used its urgent enforcement powers to impose three conditions on the Trust's registration which relate to operating theatres at the John Radcliffe Hospital in Oxford.

The Trust was aware that the theatres at the John Radcliffe required some refurbishment works, and had already been planning a schedule of works to start in April 2019 at the time of the CQC inspection in November 2018.

Following the improvement notice issued by the CQC, we took immediate action including further minimising infection risks, carrying out remedial work to floors and cupboards, improving storage facilities, and adding privacy screens to all anaesthetic and theatre doors.

The planned refurbishment works started on 8 April 2019 and are progressing well. They include sealing cracks on doors and walls to enable effective cleaning, and repairing floor tiles and damaged walls.

The CQC highlighted a number of other areas for improvement which the Trust has addressed since the inspections took place six months ago.

Building work on a major expansion of the Emergency Department at the John Radcliffe Hospital started in April 2019 in order to meet increasing demand for services - new facilities will include an extra nine bays for the immediate care of seriously ill patients

Significant progress has been made in reducing waiting times in the Emergency Department at the John Radcliffe - performance improved by 4.2 percent year on year in 2018/19.

In May 2019 the Trust launched a major Culture and Leadership Review to ensure that all staff - including those with protected characteristics under the Equality Act - experience a compassionate and supportive culture.

Following an independent review of leadership and governance which the Trust Board asked Deloitte to carry out last year, a report by Deloitte was published in January 2019 with recommendations to strengthen the Trust's leadership - the Trust is now implementing changes at Executive level to strengthen areas where more expertise was required and investing in Divisional management teams to strengthen clinical and managerial leadership.

The design of a formal Trust Board development plan is also being progressed.