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CQC Chief Inspector of Hospitals finds that Stockport NHS Foundation Trust requires improvement

11 August 2016
Stockport NHS Foundation Trust
  • Media

The Chief Inspector of Hospitals has rated Stockport NHS Foundation Trust as Requires Improvement following an inspection by the Care Quality Commission in January 2016.

A team of inspectors has found that the trust provided services that were effective, caring and well-led although improvements were needed in the safety and responsiveness of some services.

This is the first comprehensive report on the quality of services provided at the trust, using the Care Quality Commission’s (CQC) new way of inspecting. Stepping Hill Hospital was rated as requires improvement and the Shire Hill and Devonshire Unit was rated as requires Improvement.

Ellen Armistead, Deputy Chief Inspector of Hospitals at CQC said:

"On the whole we saw staff treating patients in a compassionate and sensitive way, and patients and relatives were generally content with the care they received. We also identified some outstanding practice particularly within the trust’s neonatal and paediatric services.

“However, there have been longstanding issues with the urgent and emergency services provided at Stepping Hill Hospital, and the trust must improve this as a priority. I am concerned about the, long patient waits in A&E and the impact of bed capacity on patient experience.

“Staffing levels and skill mix must be reviewed continuously to respond to the changing needs of people using the service. More focused work is required to ensure that patients are seen and treated promptly. We will be monitoring the trust’s progress in respect of these important issues closely.

"The dignity of patients at Hazel Grove Health Centre is also a matter of concern. The clinical environment was not good and was compromising the dignity of patients.

“The trust has assured us it is taking action to improve its services, and our inspectors will return to the hospital in due course to check that the required improvements have been made.”

Inspectors found that staff at all grades and in all disciplines treated people with dignity and respect and patients were positive about their interactions with them. However, inspectors were concerned that the long standing pressures on the A&E department at Stepping Hill Hospital meant that patients were not always being treated in a timely manner and patients were subject to long delays.

Although there were good systems and processes in place to protect patients from avoidable harm, these were not consistently applied. This was a particular concern in the A&E department.

When beds were not available within the hospital, patients were often placed in areas that were unsuitable for their needs and were subject to a number of bed moves during their stay.

Inspectors saw several areas of outstanding practice including:

  • The introduction of specialist testing for Clostridium-difficile ensured rapid results were available to medical teams to reduce the potential spread of infection within inpatient areas.
  • The paediatric unit had created information packs to support parents whose children were having specific procedures; for example a DVD and self-help pack had been created for children having one particular kind of spiker surgery. This included contact details for parents who had had a similar experience.
  • Care on the Laurel suite and on the Bobby Moore Unit was outstanding. Staff were strongly person-centred and understood and respected the totality of patients’ needs. They involved patients as partners in their care and provided high levels of emotional support.

The report also identifies a number of areas for improvements, including:

  • The trust must deploy sufficient numbers of suitably qualified staff in District Nursing services to make sure that they can meet people’s care and treatment needs. The trust must stop using shared treatment rooms for patients at Hazel Grove Health Centre.
  • The trust must screen off or move the area used for a mother and baby clinic in reception at Hazel Grove Health Centre to ensure their privacy and dignity.
  • The trust must ensure that patient consent to treatment is indicated on Diabetic Clinic notes.

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.


For further information please contact CQC Regional Communications Officer Kerri James by email or by phone on 07464 92 9966.

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

The Chief Inspector of Hospitals, Professor Sir Mike Richards, is leading large inspection teams headed up by clinical and experts by experience.

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?

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.