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Chief Inspector of Hospitals finds improvement at Northampton General Hospital NHS Trust and rates it as Good

8 November 2017
Northampton General Hospital NHS Trust
  • Media,
  • Hospitals

England’s Chief Inspector of Hospitals has rated the services provided byNorthampton General Hospital NHS Trust as Good overall following an inspection by the Care Quality Commission.

CQC inspected the trust between 25 and 27 July and on 9 August 2017 and found a number of improvements had taken place since it was last inspected when it was rated as Requires Improvement.

When CQC’s team of inspectors - including a variety of specialists and experts by experience - visited the trust’s core services they found a number of improvements had been made. The trust is now rated as Good overall as well as with regard to all five of the questions CQC asks during inspections - whether services were safe, caring, effective, responsive and well-led.

CQC’s Chief Inspector of Hospitals, Professor Ted Baker, said:

“When we returned to Northampton General Hospital NHS Trust we found a number of improvements had been made."

“The trust’s leadership team was well-established and staff described the leadership team as approachable, cohesive, and inclusive. Leaders had a shared purpose and strove to deliver and motivate staff to succeed."

“We witness staff who were friendly, professional, compassionate and helpful towards patients. Those patients we spoke with told us staff were caring and without exception spoke positively about the staff in all areas inspected."

“There was a whole hospital focus on patient safety and we noticed a complete change in the culture of the trust. This had resulted in significant change and improvement for the quality and safety of patient care."

“There are some areas where the trust needs to make improvements and these have been highlighted to its leadership. The trust knows what it must now do to ensure those improvements are made and we are confident that the executive team, with the support of their staff, will work to deliver these on behalf of all of their patients."

“We will return in due course to check on the progress that they have made.”

Several areas of outstanding practice were highlighted during CQC’s inspection, including:

  • The geriatric emergency medicine service (GEMS) was outstanding in terms of providing awareness of and responding to the needs of patients within this group and developing a service that provided a multi-agency approach.
  • The emergency department (ED) worked with external organisations to develop an on-site psychiatric liaison service within the ED, 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
  • The ED was actively working with local educational institutions to develop courses that were specific to areas difficult to recruit to such as geriatric and paediatric emergency medicine and the ED had a robust leadership development programme in place.
  • Staff were focused on continually improving the quality of care and the patient experience. We saw evidence that the service was committed to improving the care of elderly patients, such as those living with dementia.
  • The end of life care service had piloted, evaluated, and fully implemented an end of life companion volunteer scheme for dying patients who may not have any visitors.
  • The ‘Chit Chat’ group was set up by the maternity service in 2016 to facilitate antenatal education, parenting advice and peer support for women with additional needs, including learning disabilities or anxiety. Staff said these meetings were twice weekly, well attended and had been nominated for two national awards - one of which had been won at the time of CQC’s inspection.

There were also a number of areas where the trust needed to make improvements, including:

  • Continue to review and monitor discharges delayed for over eight hours in critical care and report incidents and mixed sex breaches.
  • Monitor mandatory training of staff to ensure compliance with the trust’s target including annual refresher training relating to safeguarding adults and safeguarding children.
  • Continue to monitor caesarean rates and perinatal mortality rates in the maternity and gynaecology service.
  • Continue to monitor and review the impact of patients admitted to paediatric wards with mental health issues.
  • Continue to monitor controlled drugs are effectively stored in outpatient areas and that fire exits are accessible at all times.

Full reports including ratings for all of the provider’s core services are available on our website.


For further information, please contact Louise Grifferty on 07717 422917 or Helen Gildersleeve, on 0191 233 3379.

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Last updated:
07 November 2017

Notes to editors

Whenever CQC inspects it will always ask the following five questions of every service:
  • Are they safe?
  • Are they effective?
  • Are they caring?
  • Are they responsive to people’s needs?
  • Are they well-led?
Since 1 April, registered providers of health and social care services 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.