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Inspection Summary


Overall summary & rating

Good

Updated 7 February 2017

Tameside General Hospital is part of Tameside and Glossop Integrated Care NHS Foundation Trust and provides a full range of hospital services, including general and specialist medicine, general and specialist surgery and full Consultant led obstetric and paediatric hospital services for women, children and babies.

Tameside General Hospital is situated in Ashton-under-Lyne. The hospital services a population of approximately 250,000 residing in the surrounding area of Tameside in Greater Manchester, and the town of Glossop in Derbyshire. In total, the trust has 528 beds.

We carried out this inspection to see whether the hospital had made improvements since our last inspection in April 2015. Following our inspection in April 2015 we rated the hospital as requires improvement overall. We judged the hospital to be requires improvement for safe, effective and responsive and good for caring and well led.

We visited the hospital as part of our comprehensive announced inspection on 8 to 11 August 2016. We also carried out an out-of-hours unannounced visit on 18 August 2016. The inspection team inspected the following core services:

  • Urgent and emergency services
  • Medical care services (including older people’s care) including the Stamford Unit
  • Surgery
  • Critical care
  • Maternity and gynaecology
  • Children and young People
  • End of life care
  • Outpatients and diagnostic services

The Stamford Unit is a recently opened community facility to support patients who are determined to be medically fit for discharge. The patients require further support in a non-acute setting to be assessed and discharged into the community. However, we did not rate the service provided as the unit had only been opened for three weeks prior to the inspection and we did not have sufficient data to fully consider this.

A separate report is available with regard to this service.

Overall, we rated Tameside General Hospital as ‘good’. We noted that there had been significant improvements in some areas since our last inspection

Our key findings were as follows:

Access and Flow

  • Access and flow in the emergency department remained a continuous challenge.
  • From March 2015 to April 2016, the trust did not meet the Department of Health Standards to

Transfer or discharge patients within four hours of arrival and the decision to admit patients within four to 12 hours for nine out of 12 months.

  • Data showed the percentage of patients leaving before being seen was consistently worse than the England average for same period.
  • Again, from March 2015 to April 2016, the total time patients spent in the emergency department (average per patient) was consistently worse than the England average.
  • There were 211 black breaches from May 2015 to May 2016. Black breaches occur when the time from an ambulance’s arrival to the patient being handed over to the department staff is greater than 60 minutes.
  • The trust had an escalation process in place for periods when there was increased demand. The purpose of this process was to ensure the effective management of the trust’s bed capacity and to give staff clear processes and triggers to follow. We found that the actions set out in this process were followed when increased pressure was experienced.
  • There were bed meetings held three times a day. These meetings were attended by senior nursing staff from the ward areas, patient flow team and the emergency department team.
  • Between February 2016 and July 2016, there were a total of 526 medical patients admitted across the three surgical wards (medical outliers). Medical outlier patients were seen daily by medical doctors. In the course of the inspection, we were informed by ward managers that it was very rare for a surgical patient to be placed on a medical ward.
  • There was a focus on discharge planning on all the wards. Following multi-disciplinary meetings discharge plans were made for each patient based upon their progress.
  • The trust had made significant improvements with regard to Referral to Treatment (RTT) waiting. In terms of RTT standards, the trust was now at mid-table level in terms of achieving standards and had previously been in the bottom six trusts nationally.

Cleanliness and Infection control

  • Generally patients were cared for in a visibly clean and hygienic environment.
  • Staff followed the trust’s policy on infection control and adhered to the ‘bare below the elbows’ policy.
  • Cleaning schedules were in place, and there were clearly defined roles and responsibilities for cleaning the environment and cleaning and decontaminating equipment.
  • There were arrangements in place for the handling, storage and disposal of clinical waste, including sharps. There was a suitable supply of hand wash sinks and hand gels available.
  • Staff were observed wearing personal protective equipment, such as gloves and aprons, while delivering care. Gowning procedures were adhered to in the theatre areas.
  • Patients identified with an infection were isolated in side rooms. We saw that appropriate signage was used to protect staff and visitors.
  • Public Health England data for surgical site infections showed the hospital performed similar to or better than the national average for the proportion of patients that acquired surgical site infections following surgery.
  • However, in maternity and gynaecology quarterly infection prevention and control audits were completed and ward 27 had scored 83% in April 2016. Issues remained during the inspection, which had not been identified or rectified following the ward audits. These included scuffed wooden surfaces, doorways and equipment which could not be thoroughly cleaned, tears in a seat cover, chipped paint and loose plaster, rusty waste bins and a perished area on a cot mattress. At the unannounced inspection a more thorough audit had been completed and some items had been removed or replaced. A programme of deep cleaning refurbishment was planned.

Nurse staffing

  • Care and treatment was delivered by committed and caring staff who worked hard to provide patients with good services.
  • The expected and actual staffing levels were displayed on a notice board on each unit/ward and these were updated on a daily basis.
  • Staffing levels were planned to ensure an appropriate skill mix to provide care and treatment for patients.
  • The ward managers carried out daily staff monitoring and escalated staffing shortfalls due to unplanned sickness or leave.
  • The number of midwives were appropriate to meet the needs of the patients in both maternity and gynaecology services.
  • However, nurse staffing levels, although improved, remained a challenge in some areas. This was particularly the case in medical care services.
  • We were able to review a report produced on the 27 April 2016. The report showed a number of wards in the medical directorate which were below 80% fill rates for qualified day staff. The report highlighted issues in ward 41, 44 and 46 where qualified fill rates were between 79% to 74%.
  • During the unannounced inspection, there was a shortage of two qualified nurses on 41, one bank nurse was deployed and the band seven nurse in the unit moved a member of staff from their ward to cover the remaining shortfall. This meant they were unable to carry out the quality safety round conducted by the band seven nurse each evening to ensure their ward remained safe. They had informed the wards and were available for telephone contact.
  • Of the nine band 6 and 7 paediatric nurses on the children’s unit all had completed Advanced Paediatric Life Support (APLS) with the exception of two new staff. However, only three were up to date at the time of our inspection. Plans were in place for three staff to attend a course in September 2016 and three in January 2017. Risk was mitigated by the on-site presence of a paediatric registrar at all times. Advanced paediatric nurse practitioners, working in the paediatric emergency department had also completed APLS.

Medical staffing

  • Medical treatment was delivered by skilled and committed medical staff who worked well with other disciplines to deliver safe quality care.
  • The proportion of middle career doctors and junior doctors within the trust was greater than the England average. The proportion of consultants was below the England average (37% compared with the England average of 42%). The proportion of registrars was also below the England average (27% compared with the England average of 36%).
  • These figures were an improvement from last year and the urgent and emergency care department had slightly above the England average number of consultants.
  • Staff rotas were maintained by the existing staff and through the use of agency or locum consultants when needed. Where locum doctors were used, they underwent recruitment checks and induction training to ensure they understood the hospital’s policies and procedures. The majority of locum and agency doctors had worked at the hospital on extended contracts so they were familiar with the hospital’s policies and procedures.

Mortality rates

  • Following concerns that the trust was either a risk or an elevated risk for the some mortality outliers including gastroenterological and hepatological conditions and procedures, infectious diseases, nephrological conditions, vascular conditions and procedures, a process to review every death had been started by the trust. This provided an assurance of safe and quality care delivery and was recognised by the clinicians as not just a box ticking exercise.
  • Mortality review outcomes were discussed at a mortality steering group chaired by the medical director, which fed into the service quality and operational governance group and the quality and governance group for oversight and scrutiny. Lessons learned were disseminated through the divisional governance structure to enable appropriate actions to be embedded and learning from mortality reviews to be shared by divisional teams.

Meeting the needs of disabled patients

During the inspection, we carried out a pilot inspection looking at how the trust met the needs of disabled people. The main findings are contained in the responsive section of the provider report. However, below is a summary of our findings:

  • A bespoke system electronically tracked every patient with learning disabilities in the hospital, which was overseen by a named lead nurse in learning disabilities.
  • All patients with a learning disability were referred to the learning disabilities nurse by fax on admission.
  • When a patient with a disability was moved, an email would be sent to ward managers reminding them to be mindful of reasonable adjustments for that patient. Patients would also be put on a reasonable adjustments care pathway, and where necessary their carer had their own care pathway.
  • There was a team of volunteers who provided mobility scooters by request and supervised their use throughout the trust so patients with mobility difficulties could move through the site easily. There were also volunteers who would sit with sensory impaired patients to guide them through their hospital journey on request. Volunteer help could be booked in advance by phone or at any reception desk.
  • The hospital had two wards designed for dementia patients, which included dementia friendly ‘reminiscence rooms’. Material and information was also available throughout the rest of the hospital, such as ‘twiddle-muffs’ to keep patients occupied and engaged. Every ward we saw had a comprehensive information board on dementia with contact details for the admiral nurse. However, there were no set activities for dementia patients at the time of inspection.

We saw several areas of outstanding practice including:

Urgent and Emergency Services

  • The department’s practice development nurse provided excellent support and education to the staff within the department.
  • The department’s handling or the major incident, which occurred during the inspection, was excellent and ensured that patients were treated in the most appropriate and safe manner.
  • The divisional leaders made great efforts to ensure that they were visible at all times, especially during times of pressure.

Surgical Services

  • Ward staff applied ‘reasonable adjustment’ principles for patients with learning disabilities and specific care plans were in place to provide guidance for staff. The care plans took into account factors such as the environment, communication (e.g. use of communication books or easy read leaflets), staffing, equipment requirements and procedures (such as booking patient first or last on list).

Maternity and gynaecology

  • A programme for supporting and informing pregnant women with alcohol consumption problems had been developed. MAMA (Maternal Alcohol Management Algorithm) was managed by the safeguarding lead midwife. This provided pathways into related services in the community including rehabilitation day services, community support and detoxification support.

End of life care

  • The trust had direct access to electronic information held by community services, including GPs. This meant hospital staff could access up-to-date information about patients, for example, details of their current medicine.

Outpatients and diagnostics

  • The radiology department offered a “Virtopsy Service”. This virtual post-mortem service was used when a CT scan could determine the cause of death. This speeded up the process of determining cause of death and respected the religious and cultural needs of some of the local population. Scans were carried out at night and reporters were experts in reporting on virtual post-mortems. Deceased persons were transported to the unit via a private corridor. The trust were one of the first in the North West to offer this service.

However, there were also areas of poor practice where the trust needs to make improvements.

Action the hospital MUST take to improve

Urgent care

  • Ensure that patients can access emergency care in a timely way.
  • Ensure all staff receive mandatory training at the required level and within the appropriate time frame.
  • Ensure that fridges used to store medications are kept at the required temperatures and checks are completed on these fridges as per the trust’s own policy.

Medical Services Including Older People

  • Ensure there are appropriate numbers of nursing staff deployed to meet the needs of patients.

Children and Young People

  • Ensure all equipment used to provide care or treatment to a service user is properly maintained.
  • Ensure that there is one nurse on duty on the children’s ward trained and up to date in Advanced Paediatric Life Support on each shift.

In addition the trust should:

Action the hospital SHOULD take to improve

Urgent and emergency care

  • Ensure that staff receive their annual appraisal.

Medical services including Older people

  • Ensure children’s safeguarding training across all professions within the medical directorate is up to date.
  • Look to reduce the number of medical patients being cared for on surgical wards.
  • Continue to monitor staffing arrangements on wards.

Surgical Services

  • Take appropriate actions to improve mandatory training compliance rates.

  • Take appropriate actions to reduce the number of cancelled elective operations.

Maternity and gynaecology

  • Ensure the improvements in the infection prevention and control measures and the environment on ward 27 should continue.
  • Emergency medicines should be safely stored in the obstetric theatre in line with trust’s policy for the safe use of emergency medicines.
  • Appropriate actions should be taken to improve the mandatory training compliance rates for infection control and children's safeguarding.
  • Records should be securely stored in the ward areas.
  • Ensure that a deteriorating patient‘s care was managed in line with the trust’s policy.
  • Continue to make improvements in the completion of the safer surgery checklists.
  • Develop a system to ensure patients received required home visits by the community midwives.

Children and Young People

  • Ensure recording of fridge checks include the maximum and minimum temperatures in accordance with national guidance.
  • Ensure dates of cleaning and safety checks are legible on equipment.
  • Review documentation for infants when intervention is reduced to high dependency or special care.
  • Ensure the security and confidentiality of medical records in the paediatric outpatients department.
  • Ensure PEWS documentation is completed and audited to improve compliance.
  • Ensure the neonatal unit consistently collect patient feedback using the NHS Friends and Family Test.
  • Ensure inpatient discharge summaries and outpatient clinic letters are sent in a timely way.
  • Ensure regular staff meetings take place on the neonatal unit.

End of life care

  • Consider how it can increase uptake of the use of the individual care plan for end of life care patients.
  • Consider how it can encourage improvement in the accuracy and completeness of DNACPR forms, including the undertaking and recording of mental capacity act assessments, the recording of best interests decisions, and discussions with patients and their relatives.
  • Consider reviewing information held within the palliative rapid discharge link nurse files held in wards and units across the trust to ensure the information held is accurate, up to date, and in line with prescribing and dosage guidelines for anticipatory medicines.
  • Consider what actions it could take to further increase the proportion of end of life care patients dying in their preferred place of care.
  • Consider what actions it can take, within its control and where requested, to increase the percentage of end of life care patients discharged within the timescales of the rapid and fast discharge process.

Outpatients and Diagnostics

  • Continue the active recruitment of radiologists to meet actual WTE requirements and maintain safe staffing levels.
  • Resolve the issue of allied health professionals being unable to accurately record mandatory training levels.
  • Carry out an infection control risk review of positioning aids foam pads in radiology, to ensure that the risk of infection is minimised.
  • Ensure that all entries on patient notes are signed and dated.
  • Continue to increase the numbers of staff who have undertaken children’s safeguarding training to meet trust targets.
  • Review version controls on Local Rules for Radiation Protection and ensure that all staff have signed them to indicate that they have read and understood them.
  • Continue to seek a solution to the lack of an electronic system that interfaces with local GP surgeries.
  • Continue to seek viable solutions to reduce “Did Not Attend” (DNA) rates.
  • Continue to seek solutions to improve “Referral to Treatment” (RTT) times so that all clinical pathways met national standards.
  • Review the consultation room in clinic nine where the door opens outwards to improve privacy and dignity for patients.
  • Review the children’s play area in outpatients clinic’s six to nine to see whether this could be better located or children observed and kept safer.
  • Improve patient knowledge of how to access PALS should they need to do so.

Professor Sir Mike Richards

Chief Inspector of Hospitals

Inspection areas

Safe

Requires improvement

Updated 7 February 2017

Effective

Requires improvement

Updated 7 February 2017

Caring

Good

Updated 7 February 2017

Responsive

Good

Updated 7 February 2017

Well-led

Good

Updated 7 February 2017

Checks on specific services

Maternity and gynaecology

Good

Updated 7 February 2017

Maternity and Gynaecology were good at the Tameside General Hospital with some elements that required improvement. This is because:

  • There was a system in place to investigate incidents and disseminate the lessons learnt.
  • The necessary equipment was available, and had been checked in line with the trust’s policy.
  • There was a robust support system in place for patients with complex emotional, mental health or drug and alcohol problems.
  • Staffing levels were appropriate to meet the needs of the patients in both maternity and gynaecology services.
  • The consultant cover met the guidance for the number of births in the unit.
  • The maternity service took part in national audits and there was a programme of local audits. Where actions were identified these were put in place and re-audits took place.
  • Local audits for practices within the gynaecology and termination of pregnancy service had been completed.
  • Consent for procedures in the maternity, gynaecology and termination of pregnancy services was accurately and clearly documented.
  • We observed calm, patient, friendly and professional interactions between staff and patients in all areas of women’s health.
  • The termination of pregnancy service was run to ensure patients could have additional support following their procedure should they need it.
  • The triage area of the maternity unit ensured patients could obtain prompt telephone advice and be seen in a timely manner.
  • Systems were in place to learn from complaints.
  • There was a clear vision and strategy for the service, which incorporated regional and national developments.
  • Staff were complimentary about the leadership of the service saying they had approachable, visible and knowledgeable managers.

However,

  • There were infection prevention and control concerns on ward 27. These were brought to the attention of the managers during the inspection and at the unannounced inspection, improvements had been made with plans for further actions.
  • Emergency medicines were not safely stored in the obstetric theatre.
  • Records were not securely held in the maternity and gynaecology wards.
  • Mandatory training, including safeguarding training was not up to date in maternity services.
  • Assessments to identify a deteriorating patient were not accurately completed on the maternity unit or the gynaecology unit.
  • The safer surgery checklists were not fully completed for maternity surgical procedures.

Medical care

Requires improvement

Updated 7 February 2017

Urgent and emergency services (A&E)

Good

Updated 7 February 2017

Urgent and Emergency services were good at the Tameside General Hospital with some elements that required improvement:

  • We found that some patients experienced delays in accessing these services due to pressures on the department.

  • Staff were able to report incidents and were knowledgeable about the types of incident they should report. We saw evidence that learning from incidents and complaints was routine and this learning was disseminated widely.

  • Infection control was effectively managed and the department was visibly clean.

  • Nursing and medical staffing was sufficient to meet patient’s needs.

  • Patients accessing the emergency department received effective care and treatment that followed national clinical guidelines and was tailored to their individual needs. This care was delivered by competent and professional staff. The department participated in local and national audits.

  • Staff sought appropriate consent from patients before delivering treatment and care and were knowledgeable about the Mental Health Act and considered this, where relevant. Staff treated patients with kindness, dignity and respect and provided care to patients whilst maintaining their privacy and confidentiality. Patients spoke very positively about the manner in which staff treated them.

  • The emergency department planned its services to meet the individual needs of the local population it served.
  • The trust saw less than 95% of patients within four hours of arrival for 12 out of the 12 months we reviewed. However, the staff and senior management team in the department worked collaboratively to manage increased pressure and had effective measures in place to ensure patients received high quality care.

Surgery

Good

Updated 7 February 2017

We gave the surgical services at the Tameside General Hospital an overall rating of ‘good’. This was because:

  • Patient safety was monitored and incidents were investigated to assist learning and improve care. Patients received care in visibly clean and appropriately maintained premises.

  • The surgical services reported one ‘never event’ between June 2015 and May 2016. Remedial actions such as staff training and policy updates were taken to learn from the incident. The theatre teams followed the ‘five steps to safer surgery’ procedures and staff adherence to was monitored through routine audits.

  • The services provided effective care and treatment that followed national clinical guidelines and staff used care pathways effectively. The services performed in line with the England average for most safety and clinical performance measures.

  • Patients received care and treatment by trained, competent staff that worked well as part of a multidisciplinary team. The majority of staff had completed their annual appraisals and achieved with the hospital’s internal targets.

  • The surgical services achieved the 18 week referral to treatment standards across most specialties. Actions were taken to improve compliance in the surgical specialties where these standards had not been achieved, such as for trauma and orthopaedics.

  • There were 243 elective operations cancelled on the day of surgery between July 2015 and June 2016. The most frequent reason for these cancellations was bed unavailability. There had been no non-elective (emergency) surgery operations during this period. The services also performed better than the England average for the number of patients whose operations were cancelled and were treated within the 28 days.

  • The theatre service improvement project included actions to improve efficiency and minimise patient delays. Measures such as the ‘golden patient’ had led to improvements in the number of theatre lists starting on time. The hospital had also launched ‘Home First’ initiative, which aimed to reduce bed occupancy by supporting suitable patients to receive care in their own place of residence.

  • There were systems in place to support vulnerable patients. Staff applied ‘reasonable adjustment’ principles for patients with learning disabilities and care plans were in place to instruct staff on how to care for patients with learning disabilities.

  • Patients and their relatives spoke positively about the care and treatment they received. They told us they were kept fully involved in their care and the staff supported them with their emotional and spiritual needs. Patient feedback from the NHS Friends and Family Test showed that most patients were positive about recommending the surgical wards to friends and family.

  • The hospital’s values and objectives had been cascaded across the surgical services. Key risks to the services, audit findings and performance was monitored though routine departmental and divisional governance and quality and safety meetings.

  • The staffing levels and skills mix was sufficient to meet patients’ needs. Most staff had completed their annual appraisals and mandatory training. However, the mandatory training completion rate was below the hospital’s internal target.

  • There was effective teamwork and visible leadership across the services. Staff were positive about the culture within the surgical services and the level of support they received from their managers. Complaints were resolved in a timely manner and shared with staff to aid learning.

Intensive/critical care

Good

Updated 7 February 2017

We have rated critical care services as “good” overall. This is because;

  • There were sufficient numbers of suitably skilled nursing and medical staff to care for the patients.
  • We found a culture where incident reporting and learning was embedded and used by staff.
  • Care was delivered in line with evidence- based, best practice guidance.
  • There was strong clinical and managerial leadership at unit and divisional level.
  • There was an effective governance structure in place.
  • Patients and their relatives were cared for in a supportive and sympathetic manner and were treated with dignity and respect.

However,

  • The data showed there was an issue with comparatively high numbers of out of hours discharges when compared with similar units.

Services for children & young people

Good

Updated 7 February 2017

Children’s and Young Peoples were good at the Tameside General Hospital . This is because:

  • We saw evidence that incidents were being reported and that information following clinical incidents was fed back to staff.
  • Cleanliness and hygiene was of a good standard and staff followed good practice guidance in relation to the control and prevention of infection.
  • Staff were aware of their roles and responsibilities with regard to safeguarding and knew how to raise matters of concern appropriately.
  • The service used national guidelines to determine care and treatment and there were a number of evidence-based pathways in place.
  • Care was provided by committed, compassionate staff who were enthusiastic about their role. Parents felt confident about leaving their baby in the neonatal unit.
  • The Community Children’s Nursing team (CCNT) provided intervention to help avoid hospital admission, reduce the time children spent in hospital and prevent readmissions.
  • Quality and performance were monitored through paediatric and divisional dashboards.
  • The children’s unit had won the Nursing Times Student Placement of the Year award for 2016.
  • Safety testing for equipment was in place however we observed two ventilators that had not been serviced since 2013 and six breast pumps that had been due for servicing in 2014 on the neonatal unit. We reviewed this equipment on our unannounced visit and noted that servicing had taken place.
  • Of the nine band 6 and 7 paediatric nurses on the children’s unit, all had completed Advanced Paediatric Life Support (APLS) with the exception of two new staff, however only three were up to date at the time of our inspection. Plans were in place for three staff to attend a course in September 2016 and three in January 2017. Risk was mitigated by the on-site presence of a paediatric registrar at all times. advanced paediatric nurse practitioners, working in the paediatric emergency department had also completed APLS.

End of life care

Good

Updated 7 February 2017

We rated end of life care services as ‘good’ overall, because:

  • Care and treatment was provided safely to patients at the end of life. Infection control and prevention was embedded in the service. The environment from the wards to the bereavement centre and the mortuary was appropriate for the services provided. Staff were trained appropriately and used suitable tools and observations to identify and respond to patients who were deteriorating. Anticipatory medication for end of life was prescribed in line with the trust’s policies. There had been no serious incidents relating to end of life care.

  • The palliative clinical nurse specialist team and complex discharge team provided a seven-day service. The HSPC team were available Monday to Friday. The mortuary team were on-call to attend out of hours. The end of life care provided was in line with evidence based professional guidelines, and work was ongoing to improve the services provided following the end of life care audit. The HSPC team, the end of life facilitator and the mortuary manager were integral in developing and delivering additional training to nursing and medical staff throughout the trust in end of life care and care after death. There was effective and collaborative multidisciplinary working.

  • All staff involved in end of life care were passionate about, and delivered, compassionate care and supported patients and their relatives emotional, and spiritual, needs. Patients and relatives spoke positively about the care and information that had been provided to them. The same level of caring, sensitivity and respect was evident in the care after death provided by the bereavement and mortuary teams.
  • Arrangements were in place for the rapid or fast discharge of end of life patients to their preferred place of care, which included transfer to hospice within two hours. The trust was able to carry out post mortem scans where requested, and authorised by the coroner, which responded to the funerary needs of faiths other than the Christian belief.
  • End of life care services were represented on the trust’s board by a non-executive director. The end of life strategy fed into the division’s wider strategy, including national and regional healthcare developments. There was a clear reporting structure in place; the leaders were visible, approachable and supported staff. The service engaged the local public in the Dying Matters campaign and were working closely with local students to develop the memory tree and garden for the bereavement centre.

However,

  • The service had more work to do to further encourage and increase the use of individual plans of care that take into account end of life care patients’ individual needs and those of their families, and to meet its internal key performance indicator on this. There was inconsistency in the quality and completion of do not attempt resuscitation (DNACPR) forms in some parts of the hospital, and some information within the wards’ end of life link nurse files were out of date. Although there had been a small increase in the proportion of people dying in their preferred place of care, this remained lower (worse) than the regional or national average. The proportion of patients, for whom rapid or fast discharge had been requested, that were discharged within the defined timescales was low.

Outpatients

Good

Updated 7 February 2017

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We rated outpatients and diagnostic imaging services as good overall. This was because:

  • Staff were confident about raising incidents and there were systems in place for feedback and learning from incidents and complaints. The trust had strong arrangements in place to ensure that Duty of Candour was applied accordingly, in accordance with the Health and Social Care Act 2008 and that patients received an apology, full explanation and were supported going forward.
  • Staffing levels were appropriate to meet patient needs although increased demand on radiology services meant that some reporting on diagnostic imaging was outsourced overnight. There was ongoing forward planning on future staffing requirements.
  • There were appropriate protocols for safeguarding adults and children and staff followed safety procedures to keep patients safe.
  • Equipment was maintained and the environment was clean with steps being taken to minimise infection risks.
  • The trust reacted to new guidance and procedures accordingly and were proactive in looking at successful evidence-based care and treatment in other trusts to drive improvements. Audit outcomes were discussed with staff to seek solutions and improve.
  • Services were delivered by caring, committed and compassionate staff who treated people with dignity and respect.
  • The trust had made huge improvements in Referral to Treatment (RTT) times and was actively seeking improvements all the time to ensure that all clinical pathways met England standards.
  • There was a clear vision and strategy in place for improving the outpatients and diagnostic imaging services with identified problems, proposed solutions, clear targets, future performance measurements and achievements to date.
  • We saw a number of innovative practices to improve services and patient experiences and the trust sought potential solutions by researching with an outward vision and with a mind for minimum disruption to patients.

However,

  • The trust had staffing shortfalls in radiologists and were having difficulty in recruiting new staff due to a national shortfall. They were reliant on locum coverage to meet safe staffing levels.