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Liverpool Community Health NHS Trust rated Requires Improvement by Chief Inspector of Hospitals

15 August 2014
  • Media

England’s Chief Inspector of Hospitals has rated the services run by Liverpool Community Health NHS Trust as Requires Improvement overall following inspection by the Care Quality Commission.

The trust, which serves more than two million people over 100 clinical sites in Liverpool and Sefton was one of the first specialist providers of community health services to be inspected under CQC's new approach to inspections in the North West.

Inspectors found that services were caring, but that the trust required improvement to be safe, effective, responsive and well led.

Overall the report concludes that staff treated patients with compassion, kindness, dignity and respect. Inspectors found the majority of services to be safe although there was a risk to patient safety from reduced community staffing levels, most notably in children’s and family services, and from seriously ill patients being admitted to the intermediate care wards.

An inspection team which included CQC inspectors and analysts, doctors, nurses, health visitors, district nurses, patient experts by experience, other specialists and senior managers, spent four days during May visiting 23 locations including three community inpatient facilities ward 35 Aintree Hospital, and wards 9 and 11 in the Alexandra Wing, Broadgreen Hospital. as well as health centres, clinics and community services.

Inspectors said that the trust must improve in a number of areas:

  • The trust should ensure there are sufficient numbers of staff to provide safe, effective and responsive services.
  • All clinical staff must have access to regular protected time for facilitated, in-depth reflection on clinical practice.

The inspectors found areas of good practice which included:

  • Speech and language therapists used Skype to carry out therapy sessions in schools. Teams across the division used tablets to access public health education information via a range of apps and the internet
  • The trust was developing telehealth which used electronic information and communication to provide long-distance healthcare and health related education to patients in their home rather than having to go to hospital unnecessarily.
  • Community nurses were able to use mobile technology to access and add to the patient’s electronic health record whilst working in the community.
  • The trust had a “virtual ward” led by clinicians and was able to manage each patient’s condition to keep them well and prevent them from being admitted to hospital unnecessarily. The team were able to access extra advice and help from a range of services that were appropriate for a patient's care such as heart failure nurses, respiratory team, diabetes team and dieticians.

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

“Liverpool Community NHS Trust provides a wide range of essential health services to a large population in Liverpool and Sefton. It is well known that the health of people in Liverpool and Sefton does not compare well with the rest of England and that deprivation is significantly worse than average. We found a passionate and caring workforce. Patients were overwhelmingly positive about the quality of service that they received. Staff were aware of the different needs of their local population and endeavoured to provide flexible services as close to the home of people as possible. Performance at walk in centres was good, although the effectiveness of inpatient services was more variable.

“During this inspection we noted a wide range of improvements but I note that the trust still has further work to develop these. In particular the trust needs to engage fully with staff, and focus more on the quality of its services.”


For media enquiries, call the CQC press office on 020 7448 9401 during office hours or out of hours on 07917 232 143.

For general enquiries, call 03000 61 61 61.

Last updated:
30 May 2017

Notes to editors

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.