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Birmingham Children’s Hospital NHS Foundation Trust is the first children’s hospital to be rated Outstanding by the Care Quality Commission

21 February 2017
Birmingham Women's and Children's NHS Foundation Trust
  • Media,
  • Hospitals

England’s Chief Inspector of Hospitals has rated Birmingham Children’s Hospital NHS Foundation Trust as Outstanding following an inspection by the Care Quality Commission in May.

CQC carried out an announced inspection at the trust between 17 and 20 May 2016. A further inspection was conducted out of hours on 26 May 2016.

Birmingham Children’s Hospital is a specialist paediatric centre, offering care to young patients from Birmingham, the West Midlands and beyond. Over 270,600 patients visit the hospital each year.

The inspections looked at the following core services; A&E, medical care, surgery, paediatric critical care, neonatal care, transition services, end of life care, outpatients and child and adolescent mental health services.

The trust was rated Outstanding for whether its services were caring, effective and responsive, Good for whether its services were well-led and Requires Improvement for whether its services were safe.

CQC’s Chief Inspector of Hospitals, Professor Sir Mike Richards, said:

“I am extremely pleased to announce that Birmingham Children’s Hospital NHS Foundation Trust is the first specialist children’s hospital to be rated outstanding.

“Hospitals can be stressful places at the best of times, especially for children, young people and their parents or carers so it is very pleasing to see a trust working so effectively to provide the best care.

“We were struck immediately by the culture of support and team work and how effective and well-respected the leadership was.

“100% of children referred to the hospital were seen within six weeks and no patient waited more than four hours once admitted to the trust.

“Feedback from parents and children was extremely positive, with many reporting they were treated with respect and dignity. Bereaved parents were given genuine, compassionate care with clear emotional support if a child died.

“When communicating with children, staff used language that was jargon free and easy to understand, using play, toys and nursery rhymes to maintain engagement.

“The hard work of staff across the trust is exemplary and making a real difference to the lives of children, young people and their parents across the West Midlands. The trust should be proud of this outcome.

“We did, however, find some areas where improvements were needed, particularly within neonatal care and in some areas of community mental health services. Our inspectors will return at a later date to check on the progress of these areas”.

The report highlights several areas of good and outstanding practice, including:

  • Every relative, carer or patient inspectors spoke to in the emergency department said they were thankful to be seen at the hospital and praised the staff for the care and attention once in the department.
  • The trust has implemented a Rare Diseases Strategy, which delivers an innovative approach for children who due to their rare or undiagnosed condition are be required to attend multiple outpatient appointments with a variety of specialities. The Rare Disease Centre will enable all clinicians involved in the care of the child to be present to provide a holistic approach in one appointment.
  • The complex care team had planned a holiday to Disneyland and a cruise for two of their long-term ventilated patients and had arranged for carers to accompany the patients who would otherwise have been unable to go on the trips.
  • Staff proudly informed us that the High Dependency Unit had won the ‘outstanding clinical team’ award in December 2015.
  • Inspectors witnessed outstanding care from storytelling therapists who help with children’s emotions, anxiety and distress during their stay in hospital, and help to explain treatment processes to them. Following a session of storytelling therapy, one parent reported their child had not asked for their usual pain relief overnight.
  • The provision of a ‘party cupboard’ demonstrated outstanding forethought and a genuine desire to make children’s stay in the hospital as pleasant as possible.
  • Staff went the extra mile to provide outstanding personalised care to learning disability patients. One learning disability patient had a phobia of wearing a name tag so staff took a photograph of the patient to identify him which staff put above his bed.
  • The radiology department has offered an ‘express’ MRI service since 2009. When patients attend their appointment they are admitted into radiology by a nurse, they are then anaesthetised, scanned, woken up, given a drink and then allowed to go home once medically fit. Patients spend a maximum of 2½ hours in radiology which has freed up seven beds per day. This service has won an innovation award.


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Last updated:
29 May 2017

Notes to editors

Birmingham Children’s Hospital provides children’s health services for young patients from Birmingham, the West Midlands and beyond. There are 378 beds, including a 31-bedded intensive care unit, the largest in the UK. The hospital has 13 operating theatre with 270,600 patient visits each year.

As at June 2015, the trust employed around 3,700 staff including 419 medical staff and 1,161 nursing staff. Over 270,600 patients visit the hospital each year, including over 53,000 Emergency Department patients, 175,000 outpatients and approximately 44,000 inpatient admissions.

The 2016 national children and young people's survey:

  • The data collection for the CQC’s 2016 children and young people’s patient survey is currently underway. Questionnaires are being sent out by all 137 acute NHS trusts throughout February and March to a sample of children and young people between the ages of 0 to 15 who were either seen as a day-case or who stayed for one night or more in hospital during November and December 2016. Approximately 100,000 patients will be invited to respond.
  • The survey will ask a range of questions about their experience to see if the care was safe, caring, effective and responsive to their needs. Each survey contains a section asking for children’s views, with a supplementary section for parents and carers to complete. Where a child is under eight years old, a survey will be sent to their parent or carer only.
  • This is the second national children’s survey conducted by CQC and the results that will publish later in the year will help inform CQC’s assessment of hospital performance as well as its ongoing monitoring and inspections. The survey will also provide valuable feedback for NHS trusts by highlighting areas where they are performing well and identifying the areas where there is the most room for improvement.

More information on the NHS patient survey programme.

The Chief Inspector of Hospitals, Professor Sir Mike Richards, is leading significantly larger inspection teams than before, headed up by clinical and other experts including trained members of the public. Whenever CQC inspects it will always ask the following five questions of every service: Is it safe? Is it effective? Is it caring? Is it responsive to people’s needs? Is it well-led?

The Care Quality Commission will present its findings to a local Quality Summit, including NHS commissioners, providers, regulators and other public bodies. The purpose of the Quality Summit is to develop a plan of action and recommendations based on the inspection team’s findings.

Since 1 April 2015, providers have been required to display their ratings on their premises and on their websites so that the public can see their rating quickly and easily.

About the Care Quality Commission

The Care Quality Commission (CQC) is the independent regulator of health and social care in England.

We make sure health and social care services provide people with safe, effective, compassionate, high-quality care and we encourage care services to improve.

We monitor, inspect and regulate services to make sure they meet fundamental standards of quality and safety and we publish what we find to help people choose care.