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CQC finds Poole Hospital caring, effective and well led but must improve on safety

25 May 2016
  • Media,
  • Hospitals

England’s Chief Inspector of Hospitals has rated the services provided by Poole Hospital NHS Foundation Trust as Requires Improvement following an inspection by the Care Quality Commission.

A team of inspectors, which included a number of specialists and experts by experience visited Poole Hospital during January and February 2016. Full reports of their findings, including ratings for all of the provider’s core services are available at:

The trust was rated as Good for being caring, effective and well led and Requires Improvement for being safe and responsive to people’s needs. At Poole Hospital itself, inspectors rated urgent and emergency care services, medical care, surgery, maternity and gynaecology, end of life care, and outpatient services as Good, and critical care, and services for children and young people as Requires Improvement.

The Chief Inspector of Hospitals, Professor Sir Mike Richards, said:

“Overall there is a lot to be proud of at Poole Hospital NHS Foundation Trust. There are many good services within the trust with fewer areas that require improvement. I am particularly impressed with the “Poole Approach”

which is an excellent philosophy of care and set of values that were evidently held by all staff. “The leadership team were focused on continuously improving services and worked in an open and collaborative way.

“Staff informed our inspectors that they regarded the trust as a family, with all staff making a concerted effort to put patients and visitors at ease. Staff were encouraged, no matter how busy, to stop to take time to help or reassure anyone in the hospital.

The critical care unit was outstanding for caring. We were also particularly impressed by the excellent facilities for children and young people who were receiving palliative and end of life care.

“The trust has managed to ensure that emergency patients do have timely assessment and treatment and many patients who require maternity, outpatient services and cancer care are seen in a timely way. There was recognition from the trust leadership that it needed to make further changes to improve patient flow through the hospital to decrease the number of times patients might move around wards and to ensure patients are not waiting longer than 18 weeks for surgery. I have been informed the trust are taking action around this, and this proactivity is encouraging.

“The trust leadership knows what it needs to do to bring about improvement and our inspectors will return at a later date to check on what progress has been made.”

CQC has told the trust to take action in several areas, including:

  • The trust must review midwifery staffing to ensure sufficient staff are available to provide one to one care in labour.
  • The trust must ensure there is appropriate support for patients with a learning disability including better flagging and referral for patients to specialist.
  • The trust must ensure there staffing levels and skills mix is assessed in all areas and staffing is delivered as planned.
  • Patient records must be securely stored so as not to breach patient confidentiality and to prevent unauthorised access, particularly in medicine and maternity departments.
  • The trust must implement a flagging alert system to identify Looked After Children within the trust.

CQC inspection team also found a number of areas of outstanding practice, including:

  • Staff were consistently kind and compassionate, putting the patient at the centre of care. Receptionists at the front door made a concerted effort to put any visitors or patients at ease, and this level of high support and regard continued throughout the hospital. Staff told us they were encouraged, no matter how busy, to stop to take time to help or reassure anyone in the hospital.
  • For neonates (children four weeks or younger), children and young people receiving palliative care, the trust had designed a special unit called the Gully’s Place Suite. This was a purpose-designed space which provided privacy and dignity for parents and families of babies, children and young people who required palliative and end-of-life care. 
  • Non-invasive cardiology in CT and MRI imaging have reduced the need for invasive tests on patients with low and medium risk of coronary disease whilst ensuring high risk patients are transferred quickly to the neighbouring hospital. There is excellent team working between cardiology and radiology to provide this service.

Full reports for the trust will be published on CQC’s website today at the following link:


For media enquiries, contact John Scott, Regional Engagement Manager, on 077898 75809 or 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 duty press officer is unable to advise members of the public on health or social care matters).

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Last updated:
29 May 2017

Notes to editors


Poole Hospital NHS Foundation Trust provides a full range of district general hospital services to a local population of around 500,000 people. Poole Hospital itself is also the designated trauma unit for East Dorset, while the Dorset Cancer Centre based at the hospital provides medical support for cancer patients for the whole county, serving an approximate population of 750,000. 


Under CQC’s programme of inspections, the Chief Inspector of Hospitals, Professor Sir Mike Richards, is leading inspection teams, headed up by clinical and other experts including 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?

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. 


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. For further information on the requirement for providers to prominently display their CQC ratings, please visit:


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.