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Hospice in Durham is one of the first adult social care services to be rated as Outstanding by the Care Quality Commission

21 January 2015
  • Media

The Care Quality Commission has rated the quality of care provided by St Cuthbert’s Hospice based in Merry Oaks, Durham, as Outstanding.

St Cuthbert’s Hospice provides accommodation and nursing care as well as day care services for people with life limiting illnesses and is one of the first adult social care services to receive the top rating under CQC’s new approach to the inspection of care services.

During an inspection in August, CQC inspectors found that staff working at the hospice were caring and compassionate and that people were being provided with responsive, effective and well led care.

A full report of the inspection has been published today this week:

Inspectors noted how staff interacted people, and their families, supporting them with compassion and fully involving them in the planning of their care. Staff and volunteers working at the hospice fully understood the needs of people in their care. When people were admitted to the hospice staff took time to meet people and get to know them and then used this information to create a comprehensive care plan to ensure people were cared for in the way they would like while keeping them safe.

The hospice had a family support team which was available to provide pre and post bereavement counselling for patients as well as friends or relatives and they also provided a children’s counselling service if needed.

Particular thought had been given to the environment and layout of the hospice. All rooms had patio doors which could be opened to allow beds to be wheeled outside if people wanted to gain some fresh air.

Staff working at the hospice were trained to provide specialist care for very specific conditions and there was also a nurse in post who specialised in dementia care.

The hospice worked closely with the Marie Curie Rapid Response Teams with the aim of preventing avoidable hospital admissions. The team had a base in the hospice and were able to assist staff with advice and support when they were trying to help people remain in their homes.

Debbie Westhead, Deputy Chief Inspector for Adult Social Care in the North, said:

We found that people being cared for at St Cuthbert’s Hospice and their relatives were overwhelmingly positive about the quality of their care, and this view was shared by other healthcare professionals involved in the referral of patients.

“We know how rewarding it is to work in such a service, and we were struck by the extent to which the hospice places people using the service at the heart of everything it does. More than anything else, the way in which the staff team are led to think of each person as a unique individual and respond accordingly, is why this hospice has received the highest rating we can give.

“The support provided was designed not just to meet people’s needs, but also to support families. As an example the hospice offered accommodation for families who wished to stay overnight as well as a dedicated family support team to provide pre and post bereavement counselling for patients , friends and relatives.”


For media enquiries, call the CQC press office on 020 7448 9401 during office hours or out of hours on 07789 876508.

For general enquiries, call 03000 61 61 61.

Last updated:
30 May 2017

Notes to editors


CQC has published a full report at:


St Cuthbert’s Hospice is registered to provide accommodation and nursing care for 12 people with life limiting illnesses and also day care services for those who have remained in their homes during their illness.


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.