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North Cumbria University Hospitals NHS Trust - 70 years of the NHS


Home > News > North Cumbria's hospitals delivering safe and quality care

North Cumbria's hospitals delivering safe and quality care

Posted on Wednesday 15th August 2012

West Cumberland Hospital, Whitehaven

North Cumbria University Hospitals NHS Trust welcomes two reports published today by the Care Quality Commission (CQC) following the unannounced inspections as part of the CQC’s routine schedule of planned reviews across the NHS. The inspections focused on surgical services at Whitehaven’s West Cumberland Hospital on 9 July 2012 and the A&E department at the Cumberland Infirmary in Carlisle on 12 June 2012.

The CQC is the independent and external regulator of hospital services. The review process includes observing how people are being cared for, looking at records of people who use the services, talking to staff and talking to people who use the services.

At West Cumberland Hospital, the unannounced inspection focused on the CQC essential standards and provision of care within the surgical division. The CQC reported that West Cumberland Hospital was meeting all of the six essential standards of quality and safety inspected and was fully compliant. In the report, comments from the CQC included:

  •  “We had very positive responses from people on the wards and they confirmed they were fully informed of their ongoing treatment plans”
  • “We saw that although staff were busy they were constantly monitoring people who were unwell or generally frail”
  • “Several people said the staff worked well as a team and our observations confirmed that”

Chris Platton, Director of Nursing, said: “We pride ourselves on delivering high quality care and support to our patients and we are delighted that this has been endorsed by our independent regulator, the Care Quality Commission.

“We are particularly pleased that the CQC has recognised that patients using our surgical services receive high-quality care, treatment and support that meets their needs and our staff at West Cumberland Hospital ought to be commended and should feel very proud of their achievement.”

At the A&E department in the Cumberland Infirmary, inspectors reviewed the service to assess whether the department was meeting eight essential standards of quality and safety and reported that the department had met four of the standards.

In the report, the CQC said:

  • “We saw that the staff treated people professionally and in a warm and welcoming manner”
  • “We saw that there was a clear process in place to address waiting times and manage shortage of beds”
  • “Patients we spoke to on the day of our visit told us they were well cared for and felt that their medicines were well managed”

The CQC said there were some minor issues with three standards which could be managed and resolved quickly. The CQC concluded that the issues identified did not have a significant impact on patients using the service.

These standards related to some areas of cleanliness in the A&E department where some high-level dusting had not taken place that day; and some equipment staff said had not been returned to A&E from wards or needs to be replaced. The CQC has also recommended that although the Trust has effective systems in place to monitor quality, it needed to ensure improvements were delivered in a more timely way.

The report also highlighted a moderate risk with one standard (supporting workers) concerning the completion of mandatory training by staff and the delivery of annual appraisals. The Trust has recently implemented a protected learning time policy and improvement plans for appraisals and mandatory training are being put in place. The appraisal rate for the A&E department has risen from 33.3% to a current position of 80.5%, with the aim of 100% compliance by 31 August 2012.   

After the inspection additional information was provided by the Trust which offered the CQC assurance that, for the majority of outcomes examined, the Trust had effective systems in place to identify, assess and manage risks to the health, safety and welfare of people who used the service.

Chris Platton said: “We always welcome inspections from the CQC as they are extremely robust and offer constructive feedback. We were extremely pleased that all of the patients spoken to by the CQC in A&E were positive about their experience and the care they received in the department.

“However, we also recognise that there were issues to address following the visit and the staff have worked very hard to put plans in place and implement changes to ensure that all of the issues are being addressed.”

The CQC inspectors said all the people that they spoke to at both our hospitals were positive about their experience and they way they had been treated whilst in the care of the Trust:

Patient feedback from West Cumberland Hospital included:

  • “The nurses are brilliant… they explain what they are doing and are very reassuring”
  • “They clean the ward really well, under beds and the bed itself, sheets are changed frequently”
  • “The treatment and care has been wonderful from the staff who make the tea right up to the consultant. They work as a team and tell me how I am progressing, it couldn’t be better”

Patient feedback from the Cumberland Infirmary included:

  •  “The unit is lovely and clean and very spacious”
  • “There were no long waits”
  •  “I am very happy with the care I received”