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Chief Inspector of Hospitals publishes report on the quality of care provided by Sandwell and West Birmingham Hospitals NHS Trust rating it as ‘Requires Improvement’

26 March 2015
  • Media,
  • Hospitals

England's Chief Inspector of Hospitals, Professor Sir Mike Richards, has published his first report on the quality of care provided by Sandwell and West Birmingham Hospitals NHS Trust.

Under its new inspection model, CQC has given individual ratings to each of the core services at the trust’s hospitals; urgent and emergency services (A&E), medical care, surgery, critical care, maternity and family planning, services for children and young people, end of life care and outpatients and diagnostic imaging.

Sandwell and West Birmingham Hospitals NHS Trust was rated as Requires Improvement overall, following CQC’s inspection which took place between 14 and 17 and 25 and 30 October 2014 at Sandwell General Hospital and City Hospital in Birmingham. The inspection also looked at services provided by the trust in the community.

CQC’s inspection team informed the trust of its concerns immediately after the inspection so that it could take steps to improve.

The trust was rated as ‘Inadequate’ with regard to whether the trust was always providing a service that is safe. It was rated as ‘Requires Improvement’ with regard to whether services were responsive but it was also rated as ‘Good’ with regard to whether services were both effective and caring.

Four of the trust’s core services that CQC inspected were rated as ‘Requires Improvement’. These were A&E, medical care, surgery and children and young people’s services. Critical care and end of life care were rated as ‘Good’, while outpatient services were rated as ‘Inadequate’.

Full reports for the trust will be published on CQC’s website today at the following link:

Across the trust, the inspection team found areas of outstanding practice which included:

  • The iCares service – which supports people with long term conditions in the community - and diabetic service which had both received national recognition.
  • End of life care relating to children and young people was compassionate and caring and staff were dedicated to meeting the needs of the individual.

The trust has been told that it must take action to improve in the following areas:

  • Nursing staff levels, to ensure these are safe and meet the requirements of the service.
  • Ensure all staff consistently report incidents, and receive feedback on these so that services can develop and learn from any incidents.
  • Make sure information which could identify patients is handled and stored securely.
  • The trust must follow up and act on findings of safety audit data and any absence of such data.
  • Address systemic gaps in patient assessment records. Improve staff understanding of isolation procedures.

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

“Overall Sandwell and West Birmingham Hospitals NHS Trust was found to require improvement but our inspection rated the trust as ‘Inadequate’ with regard to safety. While we witnessed areas of good practice it is clear that the trust has work to do to makes improvements which are sustainable long term.

“The leadership at the trust has given us assurances that it will make the necessary improvements and our inspectors will return to check on whether the necessary changes have taken place. Meanwhile we continue to monitor the trust closely.

“People deserve to be treated in services which are safe, caring, effective, well-led, and responsive to their needs and this is what we look at when we carry out our inspections.”

The report which CQC publishes today is based on a combination of its inspection findings, information from CQC’s Intelligent Monitoring system, and information provided by patients, the public and other organisations.


For media enquiries contact Louise Grifferty, regional engagement manager on 07717 422917 or CQC’s press office on 0207 4489401.

For general enquiries, call 03000 61 61 61.

Last updated:
29 May 2017

Notes to editors


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. By the end of 2015, CQC will have inspected all acute NHS Trusts in the country with its new inspection model. 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 has already 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.


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.