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Gateshead Health NHS Foundation Trust is awarded Good rating by Chief Inspector of Hospitals

24 February 2016
  • Media,
  • Hospitals

England’s Chief Inspector of Hospitals has rated Gateshead Health NHS Foundation NHS Trust as Good following an inspection by the Care Quality Commission.

The trust has been rated as Outstanding for providing services that are caring, and as Good for providing services that are safe, effective, responsive and well led. Overall, the trust has been rated as Good.

Gateshead Health NHS Foundation NHS Trust provides a full range of acute hospital services at Queen Elizabeth Hospital. In addition, urgent and emergency services, medical care and outpatient services and diagnostics are provided at Dunston Hill Day Hospital, Bensham Hospital, QE Metro Riverside, Blaydon Primary Care Centre and Houghton Primary Care Centre.

Full reports of the inspection will be available from Wednesday 24 February on the CQC website at

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

“When we inspected Gateshead Health NHS Foundation NHS Trust, we found the care and treatment provided to patients was of a good standard across almost all services, with maternity services being outstanding.

“I was impressed with some of the innovative work that had taken place within children’s and young people’s services across the region. Following a review looking at the changing pattern of childhood illness, services have been reconfigured, leading to the development of the paediatric emergency assessment pod and short stay unit.

“The trust is well-led. The executive team and non-executive directors had a strong feel for the vision and values of the trust and its strategic direction, including the need to look beyond the trust and work with partner agencies to ensure financial and clinical sustainability.

“I congratulate the trust on their Good rating and look forward to reporting further improvement at their next inspection”

An inspection team which included doctors, nurses, hospital managers, trained members of the public, CQC inspectors and analysts visited the hospitals in September and October 2015.

CQC rated caring as Outstanding. Feedback from patients and their relatives was consistently positive about the care they received. Staff were highly motivated and inspired to offer care that was kind and promoted people’s dignity.

In the maternity unit, overall the care was rated as Outstanding. A survey of families whose babies received treatment in the children and young people unit showed all parent’s found staff were friendly and approachable. They felt they were involved in decisions about their baby’s care, had someone to talk to about their worries and fears and had their baby’s treatment explained to them in way they understood.

The trust had some vacancies for doctors due to national shortages in certain specialties however the trust was actively recruiting and using advance nurse practitioners to support doctors.

National data showed the trust performed mostly within or better than national averages when compared with other hospitals. Although the trust has been meeting most of the national waiting targets, targets for two week cancer waiting times were not being met.

The number of cancelled outpatient clinic appointments was worse than the national average. There were delayed discharges from the critical care unit because of bed pressures on the wards and some patients’ planned operations were cancelled because no critical care bed was available.

The report identifies several areas of outstanding practice including:

  • A combined referral pathway document was being used by GP practices to refer patients to the trust’s integrated diabetes service. It included advice and guidance for GPs, a specialist nursing helpline and multi-disciplinary clinical assessment.
  • The Rehabilitation after Critical Illness Team led by nurses, health care assistants and physiotherapists had developed new pathways to help patients recover from critical illness. The team provide rehabilitation while a patient was in the critical care unit, throughout their stay and following discharge.
  • Therapy staff were part of the frailty model and worked in the emergency care centre to support elderly patients with mobility aids and discharge plans avoiding unnecessary admissions to hospital.

The report also identifies some areas where the trust must take action:

  • There must be a clean and appropriate environment maintained throughout the critical care department and waste disposal unit to prevent and control infection, including the provision of appropriate protective clothing for staff working in the waste disposal unit.

CQC will be presenting its findings to a local Quality Summit, including NHS commissioners, providers, regulators and other public bodies. The purpose of the Quality Summit was to develop a plan of action and recommendations based on the inspection team’s findings.


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Last updated:
29 May 2017

Notes to editors

The Chief Inspector of Hospitals, Professor Sir Mike Richards, is leading inspection teams that include CQC inspectors, doctors, nurses, managers and experts by experience (people with personal experience of using or caring for someone who uses the type of services we were inspecting). By March 2016, CQC will have inspected all acute NHS Trusts in England. 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? 

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:

CQC inspected the trust from 29 September to 2 October 2015 and undertook an unannounced inspection on 23 October 2015. This inspection was part of the CQC’s comprehensive inspection programme.

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.