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Chief Inspector praises ‘impatience to improve’ at University Hospitals Southampton NHS Foundation Trust

15 June 2017
University Hospital Southampton NHS Foundation Trust
  • Media,
  • Hospitals

England’s Chief Inspector of Hospitals has rated critical care services at Southampton General Hospital as Outstanding following an inspection by the Care Quality Commission.

A team of CQC inspectors visited University Hospitals Southampton NHS Foundation Trust to check on progress since its last comprehensive inspection in 2015, when CQC identified a number of areas for improvement.

During the latest inspection in January and February 2017, CQC found there had been significant improvements in the quality of all services that were inspected. The trust’s overall rating has been raised to Good – with ratings of Outstanding in caring and well led.

Critical care is now rated as Outstanding, with surgery, end of life care, and outpatients and diagnostic imaging rated as Good. Full reports on all services are available on our website.

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

“I am delighted to report that we have found significant improvement in all the core services we inspected. University Hospitals Southampton NHS Foundation Trust has clearly put patients at the heart of all major decisions. The chief executive even holds patient lunches to gather people’s feedback and pass on any lessons."

“Throughout we found a trust which demonstrated a healthy impatience to improve - from the top down. The council of governors were highly engaged with the board, the executive team and the hospital staff as a whole."

“We came across many examples where the staff interactions with patients or relatives had exceeded expectations …not only clinical staff, but domestic, portering, catering and clerical staff too."

“The trust has a large body of 1000 volunteers who are used in many roles around the hospital. Their dedication, kindness and their willingness to help their local population was outstanding.”

Inspectors found critical care was outstanding. Patients’ needs were considered at all times, with a high level of support provided for the emotional and spiritual needs of family members and patients. The critical care service worked closely with the palliative care team to provide support for patients whose conditions would not improve.

In surgery, there was visible strong leadership at a senior and local level. The trust had a well-established reporting structure, with clear processes for learning and sharing from incidents.

The outpatients and diagnostic departments at University Hospital Southampton and at Royal South Hants Hospital were well organised. National waiting times were met for outpatient appointments, cancer referrals, treatment, and diagnostic imaging. Work had been completed in a number of specialities, including ophthalmology, to help achieve the referral to treatment time targets.

Inspectors found that patients identified as needing end of life care were assessed and reviewed and managed effectively and their symptoms recorded in individual end of life care plans. Most clinical areas in the hospital had at least one end of life care link nurse to promote best practice. Patients had access to seven day services with out-of-hours support provided by the local hospice.


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Last updated:
15 June 2017

Notes to editors

University Hospital Southampton NHS Foundation Trust is one of the country’s largest university hospitals, and provides local inpatient services to a population of 1.9 million people living in Southampton and south Hampshire. It also provides specialist services to over 3.7 million people living in southern England and the Channel Islands.

There are 88 adult critical care beds in Southampton General Hospital. The general intensive care unit provides care and treatment for elective, trauma and emergency patients, and there are specialist units for cardiac patients or those with neurological conditions. The total includes 36 beds in surgical, respiratory and cardiac high dependency units.

This inspection was a follow up to our inspection of 2015, when the trust was rated as Requires Improvement overall.  This inspection focussed on surgery, critical care, end of life care, and outpatients and diagnostic imaging. We did not inspect urgent and emergency care, medicine, maternity and gynaecology, or services for children and young people.

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.