The recent Care Quality Commission (CQC) inspection of Croydon University Hospital was one of the first under its new programme of hospital inspections, led by its Chief Inspector of Hospitals, Professor Sir Mike Richards.
Croydon Health Services NHS Trust was chosen to be included in the first wave of the new inspections due to its ‘high risk’ rating.
The report on Croydon University Hospital concludes that “the new senior management team at the trust are working hard to change its culture, and while it is early days, this seemed to be having a positive impact.”
End of life care at the hospital was highlighted as one of the areas of good practice in the hospital.
The inspection team found that the end of life care service was “safe, effective and well led” and that multidisciplinary teams meeting take place daily to discuss people’s needs, with referrals to the palliative care team when appropriate.
The team’s report also highlighted good links between the palliative care team and the local hospice, and that the hospice has worked with hospital staff to help people understand choices about end of life care and treatment.
The trust also has an end of life care steering group that oversees good practice and the inspection team saw evidence of learning from audits of recent deaths to ensure that care and treatment had been appropriately delivered.
The more in-depth inspections were introduced follow the findings of the Francis report into Mid-Staffordshire NHS Foundation Trust and Prof Sir Bruce Keogh’s review into 14 other hospitals with consistently high mortality rates.
The inspections involve significantly larger inspection teams – called inspection panels – which include doctors, nurses and other experts and trained members of the public. The inspections include a mixture of announced and unannounced visits and a ‘listening event’ where local people can tell members of the inspection panel their views of the hospital’s care.
On Thursday (21 November) the CQC published full reports on its first four inspections under this new programme.
End of life care praised
In Airedale, the team heard from several patients about their positive experiences of palliative and end of life care. One patient described their care as: “10 out of 10 for us. The sensitivity and care for us is unbelievably good; they keep us informed all the time and if we are not sure we ask and they come. Doctors see us all the time.”
At New Cross Hospital, the inspectors reported that “staff were caring and sensitive to patients’ needs,” and that staff throughout the hospital spoke highly of the support that the specialist palliative care team provided to them on the wards.
The fourth report published was on Musgrove Park Hospital, Taunton. Here the inspection team said that end of life care could be improved.
The inspection team found that end of life care at the hospital was safe, effective, responsive and well led, and that staff working in end of life care have relevant expertise and were passionate about providing good care.
However, the inspection team heard mixed view from members of the public about their experiences of end of life care and concluded that end of life care on medical and surgical wards needs to improve.
The report on Musgrove Park Hospital praises the work of The Beacon Centre and hospital’s specialist team, called COMPASS, which provides advice, support and guidance to children and their family members, including bereavement counselling.
The first wave of inspections, which runs until the end of December, will include 18 NHS trusts in total, and the CQC has already announced details of the next 19 NHS trusts which will inspected from January 2014.