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Chelsea and Westminster Hospital Outstanding


Inspection carried out on 19 Nov to 28 Nov 2019

During a routine inspection

  • Staff understood the impact of patients care, treatment or condition to their wellbeing and those close to them. Patient we spoke to told us they felt staff were concerned not just about their clinical condition but also about their emotional, and social needs.
  • In critical care staff facilitated special activities and events for patient’s emotional well-being such as; weddings in the unit and taking patients to the on-site cinema.
  • Patients and their families were giving appropriate information and encouraged to make decisions about their care and treatment.
  • In critical care staff understood the importance of family input and conducted a regular feedback survey for relatives. They used the findings to improve patient care and improve the service provided to patients’ families.
  • In critical care there was a fully embedded and systematic approach to improvement, which made consistent use of improvement methodology. Improvement was the way to deal with performance and for the organisation to learn. Staff were empowered to lead and deliver change in care.
  • Managers across the service promoted a positive culture that supported and valued staff, creating a sense of common purpose based on shared values. The culture was positive with a primary focus on patient care and experience.
  • Services had a vision for what it wanted to achieve and workable plans to turn it into action. Managers at all levels in the trust had the right skills and abilities to run the service.
  • Services had enough nursing staff on duty to meet the needs of the patients. Staff had the right qualifications, skills, training, and experience to keep people safe from avoidable harm and to provide the right care and treatment.
  • Services provided care and treatment based on national guidance and was able to provide evidence of its effectiveness. Staff had access to up-to-date, accurate and comprehensive information on patients’ care and treatment.
  • Services planned and delivered care in a way that reflected the needs of the population of patients who accessed the service to ensure continuity of care. The needs and preferences of patients were considered when delivering and coordinating services, including those who were in vulnerable circumstances or had complex needs. Maternity services had recently undergone an upgrade and critical care services were currently under redevelopment.


  • There were not enough consultants within critical care areas during times of maximum capacity to meet the national standards which came into effect in June 2019. Night time resident cover did not meet national standards. Medical staff overall had the right qualifications, skills, training, and experience to keep people safe from avoidable harm and provide the right care and treatment.
  • In maternity compliance with checking for some equipment was inconsistent. For example, there were missing daily checks of the resuscitaires, staff did not monitor the temperature of a fridge used for storage of babies and placenta. staff did not implement any system for daily checks of a portable suction machine stored in the clinical room.
  • In the maternity day assessment unit and triage did not use modified early obstetric warning score (MEOWS) correctly at the time of the inspection.
  • Appraisal rates in maternity were below the trust target.

Inspection carried out on 5 Dec 2017 to 24 Jan 2018

During a routine inspection

  • We rated caring at Chelsea and Westminster Hospital as outstanding. We rated safe, effective, responsive, and well-led as good.
  • All the departments we inspected had improved from requires improvement to good.
  • The Hospital environment was clean. Equipment was clean and maintained.
  • There were effective infection prevention and control measures in place.
  • Patient records included risk assessments and care plans were complete.
  • Good medicines management processes were embedded in practice.
  • Staff followed treatment protocols and national guidelines
  • Staff showed patients dignity, respect, care and emotional support and were helpful to patients and public in corridors.
  • Care was planned to meet patients’ needs.
  • The Hospital met national access standards for A&E 4 hour waits, most Referral to Treatment (RTT) and Cancer.
  • Divisional leadership which was across both sites was effective.
  • Staff were proud to work for the Hospital and were supported.

Inspection carried out on 9, 10, 21, 25 July 2014

During a routine inspection

The Chelsea and Westminster Hospital is part of Chelsea and Westminster Hospital NHS Foundation Trust. It is an acute hospital and provides accident and emergency (A&E), medical care, surgery, critical care, maternity, children and young people’s services, end of life care and outpatient services, which are the eight core services always inspected by the Care Quality Commission (CQC) as part of its new approach to hospital inspection.

The Chelsea and Westminster Hospital is a 430-bed general hospital, based in Kensington, North West London. The hospital employs over 3,000 staff. It provides a range of elective and non-elective inpatient surgical and medical services as well as a 24-hour adult and paediatric A&E departments and an Urgent Care Centre and outpatient services. It also provides specialist services including burns, high-risk obstetrics and neonatal care for patients from London, the South East and further afield.

As well as inspecting the eight core services at the Chelsea and Westminster Hospital, we also inspected: the HIV and sexual health services at the Kobler Clinic and John Hunter Clinic for Sexual Health, located in the St Stephen’s Centre next to Chelsea and Westminster Hospital; the West London Centre for Sexual Health (WLCSH) which is located at Charing Cross Hospital in Hammersmith; 56 Dean Street and Dean Street Express (at 34 Dean Street), which are both sexual health clinics located in Soho, central London.

The team included CQC inspectors and analysts, doctors, nurses, Experts by Experience and senior NHS managers. The inspection took place on 9 and 10 July 2014 with unannounced visits on 21 and 25 July 2014.

Overall, we rated this hospital as requires improvement. We rated it good for providing caring services, but it required improvement for providing safe, effective and responsive care and for providing services that are well-led.

We rated HIV and sexual health services as outstanding and critical care and maternity as good; we rated A&E, medical care, surgery, children and young people’s services, end of life care and outpatient services, as requires improvement.

Our key findings were as follows:

  • Staff were caring and compassionate and treated patients with dignity and respect.
  • Patients told us their experiences of care were good. However, the results of the NHS Friends and Family Test were below (worse than) the national average for inpatient wards, and above the national average for A&E.
  • National data indicated that the trust was similar to other trusts for reporting incidents but was potentially an under-reporter of  patient safety incidents resulting in death or severe harm. We found that incidents were reported, investigated and appropriate action was taken in most cases. However, learning was not always shared across the trust. Incidents were under-reported in outpatient areas and some areas had not undertaken appropriate investigations. Serious untoward incidents took a long time to investigate, with only 36% being reported within the 45-day standard. Staff in a few areas identified that there could be a blame culture when reporting serious untoward incidents. 
  • The trust was clean and infection control practices were observed. Most staff followed the trust’s infection control policy, including being bare below the elbows, and observed hand hygiene. Infection control rates were within an acceptable range for Clostridium difficile (C. difficile) but were higher than the expected range when compared to other trusts for MRSA in 2013/14 – but no cases had been reported from April 2014.
  • The NHS Safety Thermometer is a monthly snapshot audit of the prevalence of avoidable harms, including new pressure ulcers, venous thromboembolism (VTE or blood clots), catheter urinary tract infections and falls. The hospital was better than the national average in all areas except for the incidence of pressure ulcers in surgery, which was higher than average. The information was monitored throughout the hospital but the results were not displayed for the public in clinical areas.
  • The National Early Warning Score (NEWS) was used effectively to identify deteriorating patients. Care pathways were being used to standardise care for patients who were acutely ill. Seven-day services had been developed in emergency care and mortality rates were lower (better) than the expected range.
  • Most medicines were stored safely but some medicines were not appropriately locked or stored at correct fridge temperatures.
  • Not all staff had appropriate knowledge of the Mental Capacity Act 2005 and its associated deprivation of liberty safeguards to ensure that patients’ best interests were protected. There was guidance for staff to follow on the action they should take if they considered that a person lacked mental capacity.
  • Nursing staffing levels had been reviewed and assessed using the Safer Nursing Care Tool in some areas but had not been completed across the trust. Some staff involved in this work were not clear about what tool had been used and some staff indicated that that the trust had taken a ‘one size fits all approach’ and had not taken the complexity of patients into consideration. Some staff also reported that there could also be an unresponsive culture when they tried to report significant staff concerns. There had not been a board report to demonstrate appropriate application of the Safer Nursing Care Tool across the organisation. Nurse recruitment was a recognised as a priority for the trust, as some wards were below establishment. Around 85 nurses and midwives had been recruited and it was intended that they would be in post by the end of the year. Bank (overtime), agency and locum staff were used to fill vacancies where possible, but some areas, including the acute assessment unit (AAU), and children’s services did not always have safe  staffing levels.
  • Medical staffing levels did not meet national recommended standards in A&E and palliative care medicine. However, there was a comparatively higher number of consultant staff in other specialities, which was improving access to specialist care.
  • Agency nurses did not have access to the electronic patient records, including risk assessments, prescription and administration records. Therefore, the electronic system could only be updated by a permanent member of staff, which resulted in delays in updating records. The agency staff also had to rely on information provided at handover to identify the risks for the patients they were caring for. This also caused delays in updating the electronic record and administering medication.
  • The trust had a major incident procedure, which most staff were aware of. Most staff had participated in training in how to respond to major incidents.
  • Staff had access to a range of mandatory training and attendance was monitored electronically and by paper. However, completion of this training was below the trust’s targets. Staff were supported to access training, there was evidence of appraisal but the clinical supervision was not well embedded. The profile of nursing and midwifery needed to be raised, there were examples, where staff were qualified and experienced to delivery care, such as ordering tests and prescribing, but were restricted from doing so.
  • The trust had a learning disability ‘passport’ in which key information about how the individual should be supported was documented. However, this document was not widely used in the trust and many staff were not aware of it.
  • There had been an increase in demand for services, and the capacity in some areas of the trust, such as A&E, experienced difficulties in meeting this additional demand. Staff reported that a contributing factor to this increase was due to the local reconfiguration of services across London. However, as many of these changes had been recently introduced there was no evidence to support this view.
  • Patient care in A&E was good but the service was under increasing pressure as attendances were increasing and this was causing delays in assessment and treatment.
  • Emergency medical care was well supported by consultant staff. There were good outcomes for medical patients, for example, in stroke care and for heart attacks, but diabetes care needed better coordination.
  • Overall, the trust was not meeting the national target of 18 weeks for surgery and patients had longer waiting times for general surgery, trauma and orthopaedics, urology and plastic surgery.  Patient outcomes varied and compliance with the Five Steps to Safer Surgery checklist needed to improve.
  • Critical care services were good and the outreach team was responsive and supportive of patients in the hospital who required access to specialist critical care.
  • The maternity department’s leadership and culture needed to improve to support staff and ensure women did not have interventions that might not be needed.
  • The Chelsea Children’s Hospital officially opened in March 2014 and provided bright, modern and child-friendly facilities. However, the leadership of the service needed to improve its governance arrangements for safety and compliance with national standards of care. The culture in the neonatal unit also needed to improve.
  • End of life care standards were being rolled out across the hospital but these needed to be monitored. Overall, the hospital performed well in the National Care of the Dying Audit.
  • Waiting times for outpatient appointments were within national waiting times. At times, appointments could be cancelled at short notice and it was difficult for patients to contact the service by telephone.
  • We rated the HIV and sexual health services as outstanding.
  • Patient discharge was supported by the rapid response teams in A&E and coordinators in other services. However, some patients reported that their discharge from the wards felt “rushed” and there could be long waits, particularly in the discharge lounge for transport or medication. Providing discharge summaries to GPs was taking longer than 48 hours.
  • The hospital at night team triaged (assessed and prioritised) patients and escalated safety issues. Junior doctors appreciated that they were only contacted when there was a concern, making their workload manageable.
  • The trust had introduced Schwartz rounds (monthly one-hour sessions) for all staff to discuss aspects of the emotional and social dilemmas that arise from caring for patients. Staff who had attended were positive about the learning and emotional support and the focus on improving outcomes for patients.
  • The trust was supportive of art and music therapy and there were excellent examples of uplifting art on display, and music was played on Thursday lunchtime in the main corridor of the trust.
  • Staff were positive about working for the trust and said it was a friendly and positive place to work but it was not without its challenges, which staff described as concerning IT, human resources, staffing levels and support from leadership.
  • Staff were aware of the trust’s vision. Most service areas had a strategy or transformation plans that identified how the service would develop and build capacity to respond to the predicted increase in attendances and admissions under ‘Shaping a healthier future’.
  • The leadership team had created an environment where all members of staff were part of quality project teams. These teams were then given time to undertake innovative  projects and research to improve the quality of the service. As a result, a number of staff throughout the hospital had been nominated for the trust’s award for clinical excellence. Staff told us how these projects had led to improvement to services.
  • There were examples of the trust’s research that were nationally and internationally recognised (see below).

We saw several areas of outstanding practice, including:

  • The A&E department staff had taken part in a research project to routinely test patients for HIV (with their consent). This had now been embedded practice for over a year and testing had resulted in a higher-than-normal proportion of patients being identified as HIV positive.
  • The clinical sterile services department (CSSD) had introduced a metal detector which was used to identify surgical equipment that had been incorrectly discarded into rubbish bags. The aim of this initiative was to promote staff safety and reduce the cost of lost equipment.
  • The burns unit had international recognition and published numerous research papers annually, which identified best practice.
  • The physiotherapy team in intensive care had an extensive research portfolio. For example, they had developed an innovative simulation-based physiotherapy course to improve quality and safety, and developed a standardised functional score assessment tool to improve compliance with National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) guidance. The tool is now used in more than 50% of intensive care units nationally.
  • The female genital mutilation (FGM) service in maternity had achieved a national award for innovation and care.
  • The neonatal palliative care nurse had developed national standards on caring for very young babies with life-limiting conditions who need palliative or end of life care on neonatal units. These standards had recently been shared with medical royal colleges and other hospitals for national use.
  • The HIV and sexual health services provided outreach clinics at London’s G-A-Y Bar, Manbar and Sweatbox Gay Sauna, and in hostels and community venues to engage with hard-to-reach groups such as the Chinese and Muslim communities, young people and people socially excluded or those who used Supporting People programme services, such as the homeless.
  • The HIV and sexual health services gained community engagement through outreach work, taking part in London Pride, publicity stunts such as the Guinness World Record attempt for taking the most HIV tests at G-A-Y Bar on World Aids Day in 2011 and the House of Lords campaign to provide HIV tests for legislators.
  • 56 Dean Street and Dean Street Express brought sexual health services to a high street location. Dean Street Express provided fast, self-testing modern facilities for asymptomatic patients.
  • Public engagement in the HIV and sexual health services was an integral part of the service and had led to innovation and excellence in services across London. The service had two patient representatives on a part-time basis, funded by the trust to obtain the views of people using the service to help make positive changes.
  • The HIV and sexual health services provided speciality clinics such as: SWISH for people employed in the sex industry; CODE clinic for men who were into harder sex or using drugs during sex; Pearl clinic for people with a learning or physical disability; and cliniQ and the Gold Service for the transsexual community. CliniQ and the Gold Service are the only specialist sexual health clinics in the country for the transsexual community. The model for this service was led by the transsexual community through public engagement.
  • The HIV and sexual health services have consistently been shortlisted and won awards for a variety of projects every year since 2007. One of their most recent awards was for the work with the West London African Women’s Service for dedication to improving the care of women living with FGM. The trust had won the BMJ Group Award 2013 for transforming patient care using technology, and the  adult sex project of the year at the Brook Sexual Health Awards 2013 for Dean Street at Home and cliniQ.
  • The leadership team had created an environment where all members of staff were part of quality project teams. These teams were then given time to undertake innovate projects and research to improve the quality of the service. As a result, a number of staff throughout the trust had been nominated for the trusts award for clinical excellence. Staff we spoke with told us how improvement to services had been undertaken through these projects.

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

Importantly, the trust must ensure that:

  • Patients are cared for in appropriate areas in the A&E department so that there is safe monitoring of their condition.
  • All staff in A&E receive training in mental health awareness, and when and how to safely restrain patients.
  • All staff receive training in the Mental Capacity Act 2005 and its associated deprivation of liberty safeguards.
  • Pain scores are recorded and reassessed for all patients in the A&E department.
  • Consultants in A&E sign off and agree to the discharge of patients with complex needs in line with national guidance.
  • There are suitable environments in outpatients areas to ensure accessibility for patients with a physical disability or poor mobility, to promote the privacy and dignity of patients, and protect patient confidentiality.
  • Patient records and care plans are accessible to all staff, including agency staff.
  • Regular checks of medicines are undertaken, that all medicines are stored safely, and are in date and fit for use.
  • Nurse staffing levels are compliant with safer staffing levels guidance.
  • A recognised acuity tool is used in all areas and staffing levels and skills mix reflects the findings of these as well as national guidance.
  • Appropriate equipment is available and regularly checked and records maintained.
  • Compliance with the ‘five steps to safer surgery’ checklist is improved and is embedded in surgical practice.
  • The incidences of pressure ulcers in surgery and critical care are reduced.
  • A record of the termination of pregnancy (TOP) forms (HSA4) sent to the Department of Health is kept by the trust. 
  • Compliance with statutory and mandatory training is improved.
  • All staff use the incident reporting system, and that feedback is provided and learning from incidents is cascaded and shared. There should be evidence of appropriate action in response to any never event (serious harm that is largely preventable).
  • Risks identified on the risk register have appropriate actions to mitigate them, with timely reviews and updates. Information on risks should be owned by the divisions.
  • The safety thermometer is embedded across the trust and information on avoidable harms is available and displayed for the public to access.
  • The time taken for the root cause analysis investigation of serious incidents improves so that issues are identified quickly to prevent recurrence.
  • Clinical guidelines are up to date, in line with national guidance and action is taken as a result of audits.
  • Governance and risk management procedures in children and young people’s services improve.
  • The trust continues to support staff and investigate and resolve the culture of intimidation and bullying identified in the neonatal unit.
  • Staff are aware of and use the trust’s learning disability passport and operational standards for people with a learning disability are appropriately assessed and implemented.
  • Do not attempt cardio-pulmonary resuscitation (DNACPR) forms are appropriately completed so that the decision and sign-off is clear and there is appropriate communication with patients, their relatives or carers. 
  • End of life care standards are appropriately monitored against national standards.
  • Patients receiving end of life care are appropriately identified and referred to the specialist palliative care to receive timely support and treatment advice.
  • There is an operational policy or guidance for the management of a deceased patient’s belongings.
  • Clinical governance arrangements are simplified so that there are effective processes to prioritise and escalate concerns.
  • Discharge summaries are sent to GPs in a timely manner and include all relevant information in line with Department of Health guidelines
  • Support is given to frontline nursing staff to be involved in change and to ensure there is a just culture.
  • Staff in lower pay bands feel they are treated similarly to all staff in the trust.
  • Cost improvement programmes are developed and are also reviewed by the board.

In addition the trust should ensure that:

  • Medical staffing levels meet national recommendations in A&E and palliative care medicine.
  • Develop the nursing and midwifery profile so that their advanced skills can be used appropriately; this is particularly the case in A&E, maternity and for end of life care.
  • Agency staff receive appropriate induction when working in the hospital.
  • Patients living with dementia are appropriately screened and identified and that staff access the tools and advice available to ensure there is consistent care and support in all areas of the hospital.
  • Information on staffing levels, safety and performance activity is displayed and accessible to patients and the public in wards and outpatient areas.
  • Discharge is effectively planned and organised and patients are not waiting for long periods in the discharge lounge, or waiting after their outpatient appointment.
  • Clinical supervision is developed for all staff.
  • There is a ‘just culture’ for all staff when dealing with serious incidents.
  • The critical care unit participates in the Intensive Care National Audit & Research Centre (ICNARC).
  • There is better multidisciplinary working in maternity and children and young people’s services.
  • Governance arrangements in maternity continue to improve.
  • All staff follow infection control practices, particularly the bare below elbow guidance in ward and outpatient areas.
  • Waiting times meet the national referral time target of 18 weeks.
  • Information leaflets and signs are available in other languages where relevant.
  • Bereavement support is appropriately maintained when the officer is on leave.
  • Outpatients clinics are not cancelled at short notice and patient waiting times are improved to within 15 minutes of clinic appointments.
  • Staff engagement improves so that staff feel listened to and consulted about specific issues that affect service development, particularly in A&E and outpatients, and where job roles are affected for administrative, clerical and support staff.
  • Patient and public engagement continues to develop to improve services, including formal approaches for patient feedback across all services.
  • Human resources, IT and finance support improve for staff, in terms of payroll and consultation on job roles.

Professor Sir Mike Richards

Chief Inspector of Hospitals

Inspection carried out on 24, 25 September 2013

During a routine inspection

We inspected the Chelsea and Westminster Hospital over two days. We visited the emergency department (A&E), the maternity unit, the paediatric unit, the neonatal unit which included the neonatal intensive care unit (NICU), high dependency and special care cots and the operating theatres. We also visited the Acute Assessment Unit (AAU) and adult surgical and medical wards. The two specialist advisors accompanying us specialised in peri-operative care and paediatrics.

We followed the patient pathway from A&E through to the wards. We spoke with patients, families, carers and staff in every area we visited. We also spoke with senior management staff including the Chief Executive, Director of Nursing and Quality and the Medical Director. We spoke with the Chairman and two non-executive directors of the trust board and with three members of the Council of Governors.

Our overall impression was of the good standards of cleanliness throughout the hospital, the open friendly attitude of all grades of staff and the visible leadership provided in the wards and departments we visited. The majority of patients had had a positive experience of care and treatment at the hospital. They had been treated with dignity and respect and understood their care and treatment. They were complimentary about staff and said there were sufficient staff to meet their needs. Care and treatment was planned and delivered in a way that ensured patients' safety and welfare. Risk assessments were completed for all patients as part of their admission procedures.

Staff told us they were in the main, happy and proud to work in the trust. They were keen to promote the trust values of being kind, safe, respectful and excellent to improve the patients� experience. Staff told us they felt supported, had access to training and were encouraged to develop their skills. They told us they received regular information and communications about matters in the trust and were made aware of management�s expectations of them.

Inspection carried out on 26 July 2012

During a themed inspection looking at Dignity and Nutrition

People told us what it was like to be a patient in Chelsea and Westminster Hospital NHS Foundation Trust. They described how they were treated by staff and their involvement in making choices about their care. They also told us about the quality and choice of food and drink available. This was because this inspection was part of a themed inspection programme to assess whether older people in hospitals were treated with dignity and respect and whether their nutritional needs were met.

We visited three wards during our visit. These wards were chosen as the majority of the patients were older people.

The inspection team was led by a Care Quality Commission (CQC) inspector joined by a practising professional and an Expert by Experience, who has personal experience of using or caring for someone who uses this type of service.

We spoke with more than 30 people. They were generally positive about the hospital regarding the ward environment, choice of menu, facilities and their surroundings.

We heard about some very positive experiences of the hospital. For example �this hospital saved my life� and �I cannot tell you how much I respect them for what they have done for me�. One person said she �loved this hospital and that this hospital loved her�.

Inspection carried out on 29 February 2012

During a routine inspection

We looked at ten ward and departments during our visit and we spoke to people using the services, or their representatives and staff in each of these areas. People who use the service told us they were happy, felt that they were well looked after and that staff were attentive and caring. Overall people stated that the level of cleanliness was very good and that the wards are cleaned on a regular basis. People told us that they had seen equipment being cleaned between uses.

People told us staff were available to explain, reassure and assist them and they felt that they were given adequate information regarding their care. All the people we spoke to told us that they felt safe and well-looked after. We were told that the food was good

In the Emergency department we were told that people had been seen quickly and that current waiting times were acceptable.