Frimley Park Hospital NHS Foundation Trust awarded first Outstanding rating by Chief Inspector of Hospitals

Published: 26 September 2014 Page last updated: 12 May 2022

England’s Chief Inspector of Hospitals has rated Frimley Park Hospital NHS Foundation Trust as Outstanding following a Care Quality Commission inspection.

The trust – which runs Frimley Park Hospital in Portsmouth Road, Frimley, Surrey – is the first in England to be rated Outstanding overall following a new-style CQC inspection.The hospital has also been rated as Outstanding overall. The trust was first inspected under the new system in November 2013, prior to ratings coming into force.

Inspectors rated Frimley Park Hospital as Outstanding for accident and emergency (A&E), medical care, surgery, critical care and end of life care. Maternity and family planning, children’s care and outpatient services were rated as Good. CQC rated the trust overall as Outstanding for being caring, responsive and well-led, and rated it as Good for being safe and effective.

CQC found that the trust had a strong safety culture which was well embedded and a priority for staff at all levels. Learning from events was encouraged, and inspectors were told about multiple examples where services had been improved as a result. Wards were well staffed, and when temporary staff were used they were being given sufficient training to orientate them to the trust. Inspectors saw that the hospital was clean, and that staff observed good hygiene practices.

Care was delivered according to best practice guidelines, and there was strong multidisciplinary team working throughout the trust. Clinical Nurse Specialists supported teams and patients to develop innovative ways of improving services. CQC found that the trust was committed to developing seven day services throughout.

Staff were seen to treat patients with dignity and respect, and inspectors were told by patients and relatives throughout their visit about how staff had ‘gone the extra mile’ to support them. Inspectors witnessed exemplary care being given on many wards. Gaining feedback from patients and their relatives was a priority and was used by the trust to improve the care that was delivered.

Inspectors saw multiple examples of how services had changed care delivery based on public feedback or working with the local community. The trust had worked hard to support patients whose situation made them vulnerable, such as those living with dementia or learning difficulties.

Staff and patient engagement at the trust were excellent. The leadership team were strong and effective, and at all levels staff reported feeling empowered to develop their own solutions to improve services. There was a strong sense of support and alignment between clinicians and managers, who worked well together to deliver outstanding patient care.

CQC identified a number of additional areas of outstanding practice, including:

  • A&E, which had been redesigned taking patient views into account to create an environment where exceptional patient care was provided. This included specific dementia friendly areas.
  • The four hour target in A&E was consistently met, and other core services worked well with the department to take joint responsibility for it being met.
  • Joint working between Elderly Care doctors and A&E, which had led to improved patient experience and reduced unnecessary admissions, the availability of specialist advice for GPs and A&E, and rapid access clinics which also reduced unnecessary admissions.
  • The standard of end of life care provided and the lengths staff were seen to go to respect and accommodate patients and their families wishes.
  • Use and audit of the trust wide ‘Personalised Care Plans for the Dying Patient’ in place of the previously used Liverpool Care Pathway.
  • The ophthalmology service, which had received a ‘Clinical Service of the Year’ award from the Macular Society Joint working with specialist providers to allow patients to attend outpatient clinics as close to home as possible.

Inspectors found that limited improvements were needed in Paediatrics with regards to nurse staffing levels and skill mix, staff skills and record keeping.

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

“When we inspected Frimley Park Hospital, we found the vast majority of care to be outstanding. Even where we rated services as good, these were found to be towards the upper end of that scale.

“One of the most striking things about this trust is the way that teams work together across the hospital, and with other providers, to make sure that people get the best possible treatment and care. This is something that other trusts could learn from – and we hope they will take note of our findings here.

“Staff engagement and culture at this trust is impressive, and we saw that it had a clear vision and set of values which had been developed with staff. These were well embedded, and the sense that staff felt empowered and part of a Frimley family was felt throughout the inspection.

“The trust also has a strong patient centred culture and sees public engagement as essential in developing services for their communities they serve. The strength and depth of leadership at both board and ward level was outstanding here, the benefits of which were clearly demonstrated by the consistency of high quality care provided across the vast majority of services.”

The Health Secretary, Jeremy Hunt, said:

“I am delighted Frimley Park has been awarded the first ever outstanding rating following an inspection – this is testament to the hard work and determination of staff in ensuring a safe and caring environment, where patients are treated with dignity and respect.

“The new CQC inspections and ratings regime are providing more information about hospitals than ever before – championing outstanding practice as well as identifying where improvements need to be made. I hope other trusts will look to Frimley Park as a model for excellent care.”

Frimley Park Hospital NHS Foundation Trust provides acute services to a population of 400,000 people across north-east Hampshire, west Surrey and east Berkshire. It serves a wider population for some specialist care including emergency vascular and heart attacks. The full reports on Frimley Park Hospital and the trust are available on the CQC website here.

An inspection team which included doctors, nurses, hospital managers, trained members of the public, CQC inspectors and analysts visited the hospital in July and August.


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Find out more

Read reports from our checks on the standards at Frimley Park Hospital.

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.