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Chief Inspector of Hospitals finds significant improvements at Northamptonshire Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust

28 March 2017
Northamptonshire Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust
  • Media,
  • Hospitals

England’s Chief Inspector of Hospitals has rated the services provided by Northamptonshire Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust as Good following an inspection by the Care Quality Commission in January and February.

Northamptonshire Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust provides services across Northamptonshire to a population of 700,000. The trust offers a comprehensive range of physical, mental health and specialist services, many of which are provided in hospital, or from a GP surgery or clinic.

The trust was previously inspected in February 2015 when it was rated as Requires Improvement overall. Inspectors found considerable improvements had been made at the latest inspection where the care was rated as Good overall.

Inspectors rated the care provided by staff to be Outstanding regarding whether services were caring, Good regarding whether services were responsive, effective and well-led and Requires Improvement regarding whether services were safe.

Full reports are available on our website.

CQC’s Deputy Chief Inspector of Hospitals (and lead for mental health), Dr Paul Lelliott, said:

“Overall, Northamptonshire Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust is an extremely caring service which provides good care to the population that it serves. The trust can be proud of many of the services that it manages."

“Since our previous inspection in February 2015, the trust has made significant improvements to the quality to care provided to patients."

“We were particularly impressed by how caring staff were throughout services which is why we rated the trust outstanding in this domain."

“Staff throughout the trust displayed a caring attitude towards people who used services. Attitudes were helpful, empathetic and staff used appropriate language patients would understand."

“The trust had a clear vision and set of values and inspectors observed that the trust board had taken a number of actions to role model their values and vision. The trust’s strategy clearly articulated a vision for quality and improvement."

“It was also pleasing to see that the trust met the target of 95% of patients being followed up within seven days of discharge."

“There were, however, several areas where further improvements were needed. The trust has told us they have listened to our inspectors’ findings and we are confident that the executive team, with the support of their staff, will work to deliver these improvements on behalf of all of their patients. We will return in due course to check on the progress that they have made.”

The reports highlight several areas of good practice, including:

  • Throughout the trust, in both mental health and community health services, staff treated patients with kindness, dignity and respect. Staff showed strong therapeutic relationships with their patients and clearly understood their needs.
  •  Senior managers told us that patients were involved in projects across the organisation. This included reviewing documents, delivering training, working as bank staff and recruiting and interviewing staff.  The trust had a patient involvement group that was well attended by patients from the mental health pathway.
  • The trust had a clear vision and set of values. The vision and values had been widely communicated across the trust through posters, presentations, and the intranet page called the staff room, screen savers and board members visits to wards.
  • The trust had safeguarding policies and robust safeguarding reporting systems in place and described how they worked with partner agencies to protect vulnerable adults and children.

Inspectors said that the trust must improve in some areas, including:

  • Community health services for adults had waiting lists and no way to monitor deteriorating patients. Some acute mental health services and forensic inpatient services used beds for new admissions that were already allocated to patients on leave.
  • The trust did not assess or monitor the phlebotomy service in community health services for adults. There was a lack of oversight of the service and it had not been delivered in line with the service level agreement with commissioners.


For further information, please contact Regional Engagement Officer, Helen Gildersleeve, on 0191 233 3379.

Journalists wishing to speak to the press office outside of office hours can find out how to contact the team here.

Please note: the press office is unable to advise members of the public on health or social care matters. For general enquiries, please call 03000 61 61 61.

Last updated:
21 March 2018

Notes to editors

The trust provides the following core services:

  • Acute wards for adults of working age and psychiatric intensive care units
  • Forensic inpatient/secure wards.
  • Long stay/rehabilitation mental health wards for working age adults.
  • Wards for older people with mental health problems.
  • Child and adolescent mental health wards.
  • Community-based mental health services for adults of working age
  • Community-based mental health services for older people
  • Community mental health services for people with learning disabilities or autism
  • Specialist community mental health services for children and young people
  • Mental health crisis services and health-based places of safety.
  • Community health services inpatient services
  • Community health services for adults
  • Community health services for children, young people and families
  • Community health services for end of life care
  • Community health services for dentistry.

The Care Quality Commission has presented 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.


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:
  • 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.