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Basingstoke and North Hampshire Hospital Requires improvement

We are carrying out a review of quality at Basingstoke and North Hampshire Hospital. We will publish a report when our review is complete. Find out more about our inspection reports.

Inspection Summary

Overall summary & rating

Requires improvement

Updated 26 September 2018

Our rating of this service went down. We rated it as requires improvement because:

  • There was limited assurance about safety.
  • Risk assessments were not consistently completed therefore care plans were not developed including actions to manage the identified risks appropriately.
  • Medicines were not managed effectively and staff did not follow policies and procedures to ensure these were stored, administered and disposed of safely.
  • Emergency equipment was not consistently checked in line with the trust’s policy to ensure it was fit for purpose and available when needed.
  • People did not always receive care and treatment in a caring manner.
  • Patients’ privacy was not given sufficient priority.
  • The leadership, governance and culture did not always support the delivery of high-quality person-centred care.


  • Services were organised and delivered to meet the needs of the local population.
  • Staff understood how to protect patients from abuse. Safeguarding was given sufficient priority.
  • People’s needs and preferences were considered and acted on to ensure that services were delivered in a way that was convenient.
Inspection areas


Requires improvement

Updated 26 September 2018


Requires improvement

Updated 26 September 2018


Requires improvement

Updated 26 September 2018


Requires improvement

Updated 26 September 2018


Requires improvement

Updated 26 September 2018

Checks on specific services

Medical care (including older people’s care)

Requires improvement

Updated 1 July 2019

This rating is from the previous comprehensive inspection. We did not re-rate this service as part of this focused inspection.

The staff had responded to issues raised at our previous inspection in June 2018:

  • Patient observations were completed and recorded in a timely way.
  • Enhanced nurse leadership on the wards had ensured practice was monitored and staff met high standards of clinical care.
  • Measures were in place to minimise mixed sex accommodation.
  • Shift patterns on the Acute Assessment Unit had been modified to ensure patients’ needs were met in a timely way.
  • Medicines were managed and stored according to the manufacturer’s instructions.
  • Staff mandatory training included conflict resolution to support them in managing difficult situations.

However, on the Overton unit patients felt they were waiting too long for a response from staff when they called, and felt there were not enough staff on the ward to help them.

Services for children & young people


Updated 12 November 2015

We rated services for children and young people services as ‘good’ for providing safe, effective, responsive and well-led services. The service was outstanding for caring.

Incidents were reported and appropriately investigated. Lessons were learnt to support improvements. Staff had an understanding to be open and transparent when things go wrong and the new regulation of Duty of Candour was being followed. Clinical areas were visibly clean and staff were following infection control procedures. Medicines were appropriately managed and stored, and equipment was available and regularly tested to ensure it was fit for use.

Staff took steps to safeguard children. Children’s risks were appropriately assessed and procedures were followed to identify if their condition might deteriorate. Children with mental health problems were, however, not always assessed and supported by mental health professionals in a timely way.

Action was being taken to ensure safe nurse staffing levels. Consultants were covering middle grade doctor vacancies but this practice was not sustainable in the long term

Care and treatment was based on national guidance and evidence based practice. The services was monitoring clinical standards and participated in local and national audits. The trust scored better than the England average for diabetes and asthma outcomes.

Children and young people had good pain relief, nutrition and hydration. The hospital had received the level 3 “Baby Friendly” Accreditation in the neonatal unit in October 2013 which supports parents to be partners in care.

Staff had appropriate training and were highly competent. Staff worked effectively in multi-disciplinary teams and with external providers to provide a holistic approach to care. The hospital, however, did not have sufficient inpatient paediatric physiotherapists to effectively support patients with cystic fibrosis at the weekends.

Seven day services had developed for medical staff and consultants were available seven days a week.

Staff were providing a compassionate and caring service. Feedback from people who use the service, and those who are close to them, was overwhelmingly positive. Children and their parents spoke of staff going “above and beyond” to provide care and keep them well informed, and of an “excellent” service. Children and their parents were involved in their care and treatment. Play leaders supported children to understand their care and reduce anxiety.

The service was being planned around managing service demands and responding to the needs and preferences of children, young people and their families. There was good access to the service, with open access for children with chronic conditions and those who had recently been discharged. There were good links with the community child health team, based in the hospital, leading to continuity and an integrated care approach. The service was meeting the needs of children with long-term chronic and life-limiting conditions by working in collaboration with other hospitals and hospices.

The trust needed to work with its partners to ensure there was a service level agreement for children and young people with mental health needs. There was support for children with a learning disability.

Governance processes appropriately managed quality and risks issues, although we did not see how risks were being escalated to the trust board. Staff were positive about the local leadership of services and demonstrated they were passionate and committed to delivering high quality, patient focused care.

There was evidence of cross site working, for example, to streamline services and share good practice although it was acknowledged that more work was required to develop consistent service across the trust.

Children and young people were encouraged to feedback ideas to improve the service

Critical care


Updated 12 November 2015

We rated critical care services as ‘good’ for providing safe, effective, responsive and well-led services. The service was outstanding for caring.

There were areas of good, outstanding and innovative practice in the critical care services. Once a week, the librarian attended the ward round in order to source relevant literature to assist the professional development of staff.

To promote the development of the nursing team the senior nursing team and clinical educator had taken the initiative to develop a critical care career pathway for grades 5, 6 and & 7. The nursing team was split into four teams. In response to difficulties recruiting middle grade (registrar) doctors, the unit had developed a two year course in Advanced Critical Care Practice (ACCP), in conjunction with Southampton University.

There were effective risk management processes in place with processes to ensure learning from incidents was shared across the critical care units at both BNHH and RHCH.

Staffing levels and qualifications were in line with national guidance. This meant patients received care and treatment from staff who had the necessary specialist skills and experience.

Treatment and care followed current evidence-based guidelines with the exception of outreach services and critical care rehabilitation services. The risk to patients associated with not having these services was being monitored,and action was being taken to try to introduce these services. The critical care services participated in national and local audits and there were good outcomes for patients. Staff had effective training, supervision and appraisal and there was good multidisciplinary working to ensure that patients’ needs were met.

Data showed that outcomes for patients were comparable with those of similar critical care units.

There was strong leadership of the critical care service across the trust and in the units at BNHH. There was a culture of mutual support and respect, with staff willing to help the unit at RHCH when they were short staffed. Innovative ideas and approaches to care were encouraged and supported.

End of life care


Updated 12 November 2015

End of life care at this hospital was “outstanding”. We rated it ‘good’ for safe, effective and responsive services and outstanding for caring and well-led services.

People were protected from avoidable harm and abuse. Reliable systems and process were in place to ensure the delivery of safe care.

Care and treatment was delivered in line with local and national guidance and, a holistic patient-centred approach was evident.

Staff involved and treated people with compassion, kindness, dignity and respect. Feedback from patients and their families was mostly positive and we observed many examples of outstanding compassionate care.

The leadership for end of life care was strong. There were robust governance arrangements and an engaged staff culture all of which contributed to driving and improving the delivery of high quality person-centred care.

This was an innovative service with a clear vision and a strong focus on patient centred care which was supported by a board structure that believed in the importance of excellent end of life care for the local population.

There was good multidisciplinary working, staff were appropriately qualified and had good access to a comprehensive training programme dedicated to end of life care. However we were concerned about the uptake of mandatory training by the specialist palliative care team and the low staffing levels in the mortuary.

Patient outcomes were routinely monitored and where these were lower than expected comprehensive plans had been put in place to improve. However, ‘Do Not Attempt Cardio Pulmonary Resuscitation’ (DNACPR) decisions were not always made appropriately and in line with national guidance.

Staff treated people with compassion, kindness, dignity and respect and feedback from patients and their families were consistently positive.

Patient’s needs were mostly met through the way end of life care was organised and delivered. However, the rapid discharge of those patients expressing a wish to die at home did not always happen in a timely way. The specialist palliative care team identified rapid discharge as a challenge. We saw where recommendations and actions to address these audit results had been made and results had been discussed at board level. There was an identified shortage of side rooms for those patients identified as being in the last hours of life.

Maternity and gynaecology


Updated 12 November 2015

Maternity and gynaecology services were rated ‘good’ for providing safe, effective, caring, responsive and well led services.

Nursing and midwifery staff were encouraged to report incidents and robust systems were in place to ensure lessons information and learning was disseminated trust wide. There had been one Never event (a serious, largely preventable patient safety incident which should not occur if the available preventative measures had been implemented) in the maternity service in May 2015.

We saw information to support the reason for the never event had been comprehensively investigated and systems were in place to minimise the risk of recurrence.

Midwives completed comprehensive risk assessment processes from the initial booking appointment through to post-natal care. Identified risks were recorded and acted upon across the service.

All areas of the service we visited were visibly clean,and systems were in place to ensure nurses, midwives and domestic staff adhered to trust infection control policies and procedures.

The gynaecology ward participated in the NHS Safety Thermometer. The NHS Safety Thermometer is a local improvement tool for measuring, monitoring and analysing patient harms and 'harm free' care. The ward conducted monthly audits in respect to patient falls, pressure ulcers, catheters and urinary tract infections. However, information about the audits was not displayed. It is considered best practice to display the results of the Safety Thermometer audits to allow staff, patients and their relatives to assess how the ward has performed.

Care and treatment was delivered in line with current legislation and nationally recognised evidence based guidance.

Policies and guidelines were developed in line with the RCOG, Safer childbirth (2007) and National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) guidelines. The guidelines had been unified across the trust to ensure all services worked to the same guidelines.

Women had access to a variety of methods for pain relief throughout the service. Staff received further training and support in order for them to develop and maintain their competencies. The supervisor to midwife ratio was 1:15.

The funded mid-wife to birth ratio was on average 1:30 which met the trust national and local benchmark. However, there were times when the midwife to birth ratio was 1:32-34. The England average was 1:29. Shortfalls in midwifery staff were due to maternity leave and sickness. Midwives had consistently been able to deliver one to one care in labour and there was no evidence to support harm had occurred to women when there had been a shortfall in midwifery staffing levels. The 103 hours dedicated consultant cover exceeded the recommendation of RCOG, Safer Childbirth (2007).

Women consistently gave us positive feedback about the care and treatment they had received. We observed they were treated with dignity and respect and were included in decision making about their care. Women were able to make choices about where they would like to deliver their babies. Women and their families, had access to sufficient emotional support when required.

The gynaecological service met the referral to treatment time target of 18 weeks.

Translation services were available, and some midwives had undergone further specialist training to support women with additional needs such as learning disabilities and drug and alcohol addictions.

There was a clear strategy and vision for the service which was focussed towards the development of a new hospital. Staff and the members of the community had been consulted about the changes to service provision and had been involved in the architectural design of the new building. Short term strategies had been developed to ensure staff were ready for the move and guidelines were embedded across the sites. However, there had not been short and medium term plans for service development.

There were comprehensive risk, quality and governance structures and systems were in place to share information and learning. Staff across the service described an open culture and felt well supported by their managers. Staff continually told us they felt “proud” to work for the trust and that their successes had been acknowledged and praised by the trust board.

Outpatients and diagnostic imaging


Updated 12 November 2015

The outpatient and diagnostics imaging services were ‘good‘for safe, responsive services, and well-led services. It was ‘outstanding’ for the delivery of a caring service.

Staff were encouraged to report incidents and the learning was shared to improve services. In diagnostic imaging, staff were confident in reporting ionised radiation medical exposure (IR(ME)R) incidents and followed procedures to report incidents to the radiation protection team and the care quality commission.

The environments were visibly clean and staff followed infection control procedures. Equipment was well maintained and medicines were appropriately managed and stored. Most records were available for clinics and, if not available, temporary files and test results from the electronic patient record were used. Patients were assessed and observations were performed, where appropriate. However, there was not a tool in use to identify patient’s whose condition might deteriorate in outpatients. Interventional radiology there was evidence of the WHO checklist being completed and patient protocols in place. However, in the Candover Unit national guidelines for interventional radiology were not always followed regarding the availability of specific staff to be available in an emergency.

Nurse staffing levels were appropriate as there were few vacancies. Radiographer vacancies were higher and they reported a heavy workload. There was an ongoing recruitment plan.

There was evidence of National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) guidelines being adhered to in rheumatology and ophthalmology. However, there was not a local audit programme to monitor clinical standards. Staff had access to training and had annual supervision but did not have formal clinical supervision.

Staff followed consent procedures but did not have an understanding of the Mental Capacity Act 2005 and Deprivation of Liberty Safeguards which ensures that decisions are made in patients’ best interests.

Patients consistently told us that they had experienced a good standard of care from staff across outpatients and diagnostic imaging services. We observed compassionate, caring interactions from nursing and radiography staff. Patients told us that they were included in the decision making regarding their care and treatment and staff recognised when a patient required extra support to be able to be included in understanding their treatment plans.

There was some evidence of service planning to meet people’s needs. For example, the breast unit offered access to one stop clinics where patients could see a clinician, have a biopsy and see a radiologist if required. National waiting times were met for outpatient appointments, cancer referrals and treatment and diagnostic imaging. However, the trust had a higher number of cancelled clinics, many of which were at short notice. The reasons for this varied and included cancellation for staff sickness, training and annual leave. There was a plan to address this but this was in development. Patients were not reviewed to ensure the timeliness of re-appointments for their condition.

There was good support for patients with a learning disability or living with dementia. Patients whose first language might not be English had access to interpreters although some staff were not aware of how to access this service. The service received very few complaints and concerns were resolved locally. Staff were not aware of complaints across the trust or the learning from complaints.

The outpatient department had a strategy in development. There were plans to deliver, local consultant led services, including more one stop, nurse led and complex procedure clinics for outpatient services. Staff were not aware of how the strategy would develop in their departments. The hospital had plans to address issues regarding clinic cancellations. In diagnostic imaging there was an action plan to increase the skill mix of staff, the capacity of services and service integration across sites. This had had yet to be considered at divisional and trust board levels and interim actions were not specified.

Governance processes required further development in the outpatient department to monitor risks and quality although these were well developed in diagnostic imaging.

Staff were not clear about the overall vision and values of the trust but told us that the patient experience and the provision of high quality care was their main concern. Nurses and radiographers spoke highly of their immediate line managers and told us they worked in strong, supportive teams which they valued.

There were some examples of local innovation and improvement to services. The breast unit had fully integrated to provide a coordinated service across trust sites. In diagnostic imaging, a staff representative role was being introduced following to support and implement positive changes within the department that staff members themselves had recommended.

Public and patient engagement occurred through feedback such as surveys and comment cards.


Requires improvement

Updated 1 July 2019

This rating is from the previous comprehensive inspection. We did not re-rate this service as part of this focused inspection.

The staff had responded to issues raised at our previous inspection in June 2018:

  • Measures had been taken to improve infection prevention and control. The estates department had commenced a programme of replacing old and outdated sinks, and all waste bins had been replaced with bins to meet regulations.
  • Staff had improved practice to ensure cleaning schedules were completed and recorded properly.
  • The world health organisation (WHO) safe surgery checklist was rigorously carried out following surgical procedures.
  • Staff managed and scored medicines according to manufacturer’s instructions.
  • Measures were in place to maintain patient confidentiality, patient names appeared on white boards in public areas only with their consent.

Urgent and emergency services

Not sufficient evidence to rate

Updated 1 July 2019

This rating is from the previous comprehensive inspection. We did not re-rate this service as part of this focused inspection.

The staff had responded to issues raised at our previous inspection in July 2018:

  • Patient observations were carried out hourly or more often if there was medical need and staff recorded this.
  • National Early Warning Score 2 had been implemented, staff application of this was audited and closely monitored. Staff escalated concerns appropriately.
  • Rapid assessment and treatment bays had been introduced which had improved the time patients waited for assessments and provided improved privacy for patient handovers and consultation.
  • Medicines were stored securely.
  • Processes introduced and structural changes to the area had improved the patient experience and minimised potential breaches of their confidentiality.