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Chief Inspector of Hospitals publishes his findings on Nuffield Health Tees Hospital, County Durham

26 January 2015
  • Media,
  • Hospitals

England’s Chief Inspector of Hospitals has published his findings on the standards of treatment and care provided by the Nuffield Health Tees Hospital, County Durham, following a Care Quality Commission inspection in November.

The hospital, in Norton, Stockton on Tees, is one of the first independent hospitals to be inspected under CQC’s new methodology which asks whether services are safe, effective, caring, responsive to people’s needs, and well led.

Findings from the inspection have been published on the CQC website today:

CQC found that staff were caring and treated patients and their relatives with dignity and respect. Patients who spoke to inspectors were positive about their care and treatment.

Medical and nurse staffing levels were adequate on the ward, theatres, outpatients and diagnostic services, and staffing numbers and skill mix were reviewed regularly so that staffing levels could be increased if required.

Staff understood their responsibilities to raise concerns and record patient safety incidents and near misses. There was evidence of a culture of learning and a commitment amongst staff to drive service improvement.

Patients had timely access to assessment, diagnosis and treatment and services ran on time with minimal delays for patients. Where complaints had been made these had been handled in a timely way.

Staff spoke positively about the support they received from management. The hospital had processes in place to ensure all staff received mandatory training and where required additional training sessions were provided to fit around staff shift patterns.

CQC also found, however that staff awareness of the Mental Capacity Act 2005 (MCA) and Deprivation of Liberty Safeguards was limited. The hospital had acknowledged this as an issue and had identified a MCA and dementia lead to take this work forward.

Arrangements were in place to manage and monitor the prevention and control of infection and all areas of the hospital visited were clean. There were no hospital acquired infections during 2013/14, however inspectors observed two isolated incidents where infection control policies had not been followed by staff.

CQC identified a number of areas of good practice, including:

  • Additional nurse-led pre-assessment clinics had been introduced to enable patient’s sufficient time to be assessed and reduce delays in surgery.
  • Patients undergoing cataract surgery received staggered appointment times to reduce patients fasting pre-operatively for long periods.
  • Flexibility was offered around outpatient appointments and aligned to other investigations for example; phlebotomy appointments were offered to coincide with a visit to x-ray.
  • The hospitals governance structures enabled national learning from other hospitals in the Nuffield Health Group. This had led to changes to improve practice in areas such as ophthalmology.

CQC also identified two areas where the hospital should make improvements:

  • The hospital should ensure that all staff follow appropriate infection prevention and control policies and procedures, particularly the hospital’s ‘bare below the elbows’ policy and the wearing of personal protective equipment.
  • The hospital should ensure staff receive training and are aware of the Mental Capacity Act 2005 and Deprivation of Liberty Safeguards and apply these in practice where appropriate.

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

“People deserve to receive treatment and care which is safe, effective, caring, responsive to their needs, and well led.

“When we inspected the Nuffield Health Tees Hospital, we saw that staff were caring and compassionate in their dealings with patients, and patients praised the treatment and care that they received.

“We did however note two areas where improvements are required and we have told the hospital that they should take action to address these issues. “We will return in due course to check that those improvements have been made.”


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Last updated:
30 May 2017

Notes to editors


Nuffield Health Tees Hospital is operated by Nuffield Health Group as a not for profit organisation. The hospital has 30 in-patient beds and provides acute surgical care for adults, diagnostic services, outpatient facilities and physiotherapy.


Independent hospitals inspected during the pilot phase have not received a rating. All independent hospitals will receive a rating in due course. Nuffield Health Tees Hospital will receive a rating when inspectors next return.


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.