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Chief Inspector of Hospitals rates Royal Devon and Exeter NHS Foundation Trust as Good

9 February 2016
Royal Devon and Exeter NHS Foundation Trust
  • Media,
  • Hospitals

England’s Chief Inspector of Hospitals has rated Royal Devon and Exeter NHS Foundation Trust as Good following an inspection by the Care Quality Commission.

The trust has been rated as Outstanding for providing services that are caring, and Good for providing services that are effective, responsive and well led, while safety was rated Requires Improvement. Urgent and emergency services and critical care at Wonford Hospital were both rated Outstanding. The full reports on all core services are available here.

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

“When we inspected Royal Devon and Exeter NHS Foundation Trust, we found the care was exemplary throughout the trust. We found the care in the emergency department and in critical care services that was outstanding.

“Staff engagement is very good. There is a long established and supportive leadership with a clear vision and set of values that staff understand and work towards. There is a positive culture throughout the trust. All of the staff we met on this inspection spoke positively about ensuring that patients received a consistently high quality service and experience.

“We have identified some areas that require improvement but I am confident that Royal Devon and Exeter NHS Foundation Trust will build on this particular inspection to ensure that this high standard continues. Trust staff should be proud of this achievement.”

An inspection team which included doctors, nurses, hospital managers, trained members of the public, CQC inspectors and analysts visited Wonford Hospital and the Mardon Neuro-Rehabilitation Centre over a period of four days in November 2015. There were also two unannounced inspections.

CQC found that across the trust staff displayed a clear commitment to providing patients with high quality care and treatment. Staff treated patients with dignity and respect, and inspectors were told by patients that staff went out of their way to help and support them. Inspectors witnessed exemplary care being given on many wards. In addition, the trust sought feedback from patients and their relatives and used the feedback to continuously improve the care delivered.

Outcomes for people who used the emergency department were consistently better than expected when compared with similar services. National audits showed that performance in the treatment of sepsis (a life-threatening infection of the blood) and paracetamol overdose was particularly good.

The trust had a strong safety culture and providing safe, harm-free care was considered a priority for staff at all levels. Learning from incidents was widely shared across the trust and staff recognised the importance of reporting incidents to ensure patient safety.

Inspectors identified a range of areas of outstanding practice, including:

Ambulance service crews had an agreement with the emergency department that they would radio ahead to tell staff when they were bringing a patient with a suspected broken hip. This gave nurses time to inflate a pressure relieving mattress for the trolley on which the patient would be treated. In this way, pressure ulcers would be prevented but X-rays could still be carried out without moving the patient.

The care being provided by staff in the critical care unit went beyond day-to-day expectations. Inspectors saw patients’ beds being turned to face windows so they could see outside with staff positively interacting with all patients and visitors with evidence of staff going out of their way to help patients. Patients and visitors gave overwhelmingly positive feedback.

Royal Devon and Exeter NHS Foundation Trust is one of only three trusts in the country with recognition in achieving the Gold Standards Framework for end of life care, with three wards accredited and one deferred. Plans to extend the gold standard to further wards demonstrated an outstanding commitment by ward staff and the specialist palliative care team to end of life care.

Inspectors identified some concerns with the confidentiality of records. Not all records were kept secure to prevent unauthorised access. The supply or administration of medicines should also be in line with trust policies and best practice.

On 10 February CQC will present 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.


For further information, please contact John Scott, Regional Engagement Manager on 07789 875 809. For media enquiries about the Care Quality Commission, please call the press office on 020 7448 9401 during office hours. 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:
29 May 2017

Notes to editors

Full reports, including ratings of all core services, are available here.

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: Is it safe? Is it effective? Is it caring? Is it responsive to people’s needs? Is it well-led?

Since 1 April 2015, providers 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. Find out more about the requirement for providers to prominently display their CQC ratings.

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.