You are here

CQC find significant improvements at Dorset Healthcare University NHS Foundation Trust

13 April 2018
Dorset Healthcare University NHS Foundation Trust
  • Media,
  • Hospitals,
  • Mental health hospital services

England’s Chief Inspector of Hospitals has found significant improvement in the quality of services for patients during the latest inspection of Dorset Healthcare University NHS Foundation Trust. As a result of the inspection, the trust is now rated as Good.

A team of inspectors from the Care Quality Commission visited in November and December to check the quality of eight mental health core services and three community health care services. CQC also looked specifically at management and leadership to answer the key question: Is the trust well led?

The trust is now rated as Good for being effective, caring, responsive and well led, and remains rated as Requires Improvement for being safe.

The full report, including the ratings is available on our website.

Inspectors found that in child and adolescent mental health wards, areas of concern raised at previous inspections had been addressed. Staff on the wards had gone further than required in making the changes, with a focus on the well-being and recovery of young people. This included staff working with children and young people to create care plans that were meaningful to them. There was also a strong emphasis on young people being part of the community.

Throughout wards for end of life care previous issues CQC identified had been addressed and overall, the service was now rated Good. Inspectors identified a more open and transparent culture, with a positive impact on patient care and staff morale. Staff were supported to report incidents, including near misses and continual learning was encouraged.

In addition, inspectors found that the trust’s Board and senior leadership team had a clear vision and set of values which centred around the key principle of continuous improvement.

The Chief Inspector of Hospitals, Professor Ted Baker, said:

“Since we inspected services at Dorset Healthcare University NHS Foundation Trust in June 2015 the organisation has worked to ensure that improvements have been embedded. I am pleased that the trust has taken to heart the findings from our previous inspection reports and built on them to provide improved services to the people of Dorset, particularly in Child and adolescent mental health wards which we have rated as Outstanding.

“The board have ensured they and their senior managers were more visible to front line staff and this has helped to improve communication across the services. We have found a noticeable improvement in the culture across the trust, with increased openness and transparency and a clear desire for staff at all levels to learn and improve.

“Some concerns remain, including ligature points on some of the acute mental health wards which had not been identified or dealt with effectively and some medicines were not always being managed in a safe way at a small number of services inspected. However, we found a readiness to discuss safety, and continual learning was encouraged, with staff being supported to report incidents, including near misses.

“The trust knows what it must now do to ensure further improvements are made and we expect the executive team, with the support of their staff, to work on these on behalf of all of their patients. We will return in due course to check on the progress that they have made.”


For further information, please contact John Scott, Regional Engagement Manager on 077898 75809.

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:
13 April 2018

Notes to editors

Dorset Healthcare University NHS Foundation Trust provides a range of services including integrated community health and mental health, specialist learning disability services, community brain injury services, community hospitals and prison healthcare.

Mental Health Wards

  • Acute wards for adults of working age and psychiatric intensive care units
  • Long stay or rehabilitation mental health wards for working age adults
  • Forensic inpatient or secure wards
  • Child and adolescent mental health wards
  • Wards for older people with mental health problems
  • Wards for people with a learning disability or autism
  • Community-based mental health services for adults of working age
  • Mental health crisis services and health-based places of safety
  • Specialist community mental health services for children and young people

Community Wards

  • Community-based mental health services for older people
  • Community mental health services for people with a learning disability or autism
  • Forensic community

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?

Under CQC’s current programme of inspections, we aim to inspect every NHS trust at least once between June 2017 and spring 2019. We use information that we hold on each trust to inform our decision about when and what to inspect.

During the unannounced inspection we will normally look in detail at certain core services - based on previous inspection findings, as well as wider intelligence - followed by an inspection of how well-led a provider is.

Our previous inspections of NHS trusts have shown a strong link between the quality of overall management of a trust and the quality of its services. For that reason, all trust inspections now include inspection of the well-led key question at the trust level.

Each inspection team is led by a member of CQC’s staff and includes specialist professional advisors such as clinicians and pharmacists. Where appropriate, an inspection team will also include Experts by Experience. These are people who have experienced care personally or experience of caring for someone who has received a particular type of care.

How CQC monitors, inspects and regulates NHS trusts

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.