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CQC rates Royal Free London NHS Foundation Trust as Good

15 August 2016
Royal Free London NHS Foundation Trust
  • Media,
  • Hospitals

The Chief Inspector of Hospitals has rated Royal Free London NHS Foundation Trust in north London, as Good overall, following an inspection by the Care Quality Commission.

The trust was rated Good for being effective, caring, responsive and well-led. It was rated Requires Improvement for being safe. The Royal Free provides acute services to approximately 919,331 people in Enfield, Barnet and Camden.

A team of inspectors, including specialist advisors, visited the trust’s three acute sites: Barnet Hospital, Chase Farm Hospital and the Royal Free Hospital. Inspectors rated the Barnet and Chase Farm and Royal Free hospitals as Good.

Professor Ted Baker, Deputy Chief Inspector of Hospitals, said: “As one of the largest acute trusts in England, Royal Free London Hospital NHS Foundation Trust sees 1.6 million people a year. The trust and its staff should be proud of the fact that all three hospital sites in London were rated Good by CQC inspectors. This is a considerable achievement. Overall the service patients receive is effective, responsive and compassionate.

“We found there was a clear vision around the clinical direction of the organisation, taking in all three hospitals, promoting innovation to improve patient care. We saw dynamic nursing leaders who supported staff in the development and achievement of best practice models – although there is more to do to ensure consistency across all sites.

“While we found examples of safe care in many of the services we inspected, there is room for improvement in urgent and emergency services and medical care at the Royal Free Hospital.

“We saw several areas of outstanding practice including Larch Ward at the Barnet site which is an outstanding clinical environment for the care of dementia patients. The neonatal unit at Barnet hospital was very well equipped and offered outstanding levels of compassionate care delivered by all grades of staff from across the whole of the team.”

The report highlights a number of areas of outstanding practice including:

  • The urgent care centre at Chase Farm Hospital was an a good example of a nurse led multi-disciplinary team providing excellent outcomes for patients. Patients were seen promptly and obtained good clinical outcomes. The close working relationship with the Paediatric Assessment Unit significantly enhanced the service provided to children and young people.
  • The neonatal unit at Barnet hospital was well equipped and offered outstanding levels of compassionate care delivered by all grades of staff from across the whole of the multidisciplinary team.  The neonatal unit had level 2 UNICEF accredited baby friendly status where breast feeding was encouraged and mothers given every opportunity to breast feed their babies.
  • Inspectors said that particular praise must be given to the volunteers who provided additional caring activities such as massages for patients and supported patients with dementia.

The inspection has also identified areas for improvement which include:

  • The 62 day cancer wait times must be met in accordance with national standards.
  • The trust must reduce the number of outpatients appointments it is cancelling with less than six weeks’ notice, across all sites.


For media enquiries, contact Ray Cooling, Regional Engagement Manager (London), on 020 7448 9136 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). For general enquiries, please call 03000 61 61 61.

Last updated:
29 May 2017

Notes to editors

The Royal Free London is one of the UK’s biggest trusts, and became a Foundation Trust in 2012. It employs over 10,000 staff that deliver care to more than 1.6 million patients each year in three main hospitals (since 2014). The hospital supports delivery of approximately 8,000 babies a year and has over 200,000 A&E attendances a year.

The trust houses 1770 beds across three sites: Barnet Hospital (440 beds), Chase Farm Hospital (500 beds) and the Royal Free Hospital (830 beds), in total over 30 locations where services are provided by the trust (11 locations registered with CQC).

The Royal Free provides acute services to approximately 919,331 people in Enfield, Barnet and Camden.

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.