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England’s Chief Inspector of Hospitals rates East Kent Hospitals University NHS Foundation Trust as Requires Improvement

5 September 2018
  • Media,
  • Hospitals

England’s Chief Inspector of Hospitals has told East Kent Hospitals University NHS Foundation Trust that it must continue to make improvements following its latest inspection.

A team of inspectors from the Care Quality Commission visited William Harvey Hospital, Queen Elizabeth the Queen Mother Hospital and Kent and Canterbury Hospital in May 2018 to check the quality of four core services: emergency and urgent care, surgery, maternity and end of life care. CQC also looked specifically at management and leadership to answer the key question: Is the trust well led?

There has been no change to the trust’s overall rating which remains Requires Improvement. Safety, effectiveness, well led and responsive all remain Requires Improvement and caring remains Good.

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CQC’s Deputy Chief Inspector of Hospitals Amanda Stanford said:

“I am pleased to report that East Kent Hospitals University NHS Foundation Trust has continued to make improvement since our last comprehensive inspection.

“The trust has been working with local stakeholders to develop a new clinical strategy that meets regional needs. Although it is important, this work must not be allowed to distract from support to the trust to drive forward improvements or embed the changes that are needed to support the trust leadership at this time.

“The board must concentrate on the strategic direction of the trust and allow staff to continue to embed the operational improvements that are required. We will return in due course to check their progress.”

CQC has rated maternity services as Requires Improvement. At the time of the inspection a new head of midwifery and gynaecology was in post, with deputy heads of midwifery based at the other hospital sites. Inspectors found that the matron in charge of the maternity unit at Willian Harvey Hospital was focussed in driving improvements in care. Staff recognised the challenges their team faced in delivering good care.

Urgent and emergency services have been rated Requires Improvement. Inspectors were concerned that the environment in the emergency department at William Harvey Hospital did not always enhance patient safety with the major treatment area and children’s treatment area too small for the numbers of patients. This meant staff had to constantly move patients from one space to another and that moving patients around the department could be a slow and difficult process.

Improvements in surgery at the William Harvey Hospital have led it to be rated Good. Since the last inspection staff understood their roles and responsibilities under the Mental Capacity Act and supported patients who lacked the capacity to make decisions about their care. Patients had good outcomes following surgery. A range of national audits, including the national bowel cancer audit and patient reported outcome measures showed the service performed well, with outcomes comparable to other NHS acute hospitals nationally.

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Last updated:
05 September 2018

Notes to editors


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.