You are here

Royal Brompton and Harefield rated as Requires Improvement says CQC

10 January 2017
Harefield Hospital, Royal Brompton Hospital
  • Media

England’s Chief Inspector of Hospitals has rated Royal Brompton and Harefield NHS Foundation Trust as Requires Improvement following an inspection by the Care Quality Commission.

The trust was rated Requires Improvement for being safe and responsive. It was rated Good for being effective, caring and well-led, during the inspection which took place in June 2016.

CQC inspected six core services: medicine, surgery, critical care, end of life care and outpatient and diagnostic services, across both the Royal Brompton and Harefield sites and children and young people's services at the Royal Brompton site. The full report, including ratings for all the core services, is available from this website.

The Royal Brompton and Harefield NHS Foundation Trust is the only specialist heart and lung unit in the country that treats both children and adults. The trust is home to Europe's largest centre for the treatment and management of cystic fibrosis.

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

"Royal Brompton and Harefield NHS Foundation Trust is one of the UK’s leading specialist centres for heart and lung disease. Patients at Harefield hospital have some of the best outcomes for cardiac and thoracic surgery in the country.

"We found teams from all clinical disciplines working well together – the basis of the good care provided to patients at these two hospitals.

"Wards had access to a full range of allied health professionals such as speech and language therapists, dietitians, tissue viability team, physiotherapists, clinical psychologists and a wide range of nurse specialists.

"We found patients received compassionate care by staff who spoke about their trust with passion and pride. There are many people who owe their lives to the dedication and expertise of their staff.

"However there are areas for improvement. I note that critical care services have not in the past submitted data for national audit – which means that it has been difficult to compare the trust’s quality of care with other hospitals.

"I am concerned that there was poor completion of the World Health Organisation Safer Surgery checklist at both hospitals, despite discussions among the staff about patient safety risks. The trust must also take greater care to ensure that clinical staff are monitoring patients whose condition may deteriorate, using the standard National Early Warning Score (NEWS) charts.

Inspectors found several areas of outstanding practice. These included:

  • Patients undergoing surgery at the Harefield hospital had some of the best outcomes for heart, lung and heartlung transplant in the country
  • The trust’s Ventricular Assist Device team is one of the most highly skilled in the UK. The team cares for patients undergoing surgery for an artificial heart without the need for the company who make the heart being present. No other service in the UK can provide this treatment without a representative from company being present
  • Continuous research programmes within cystic fibrosis have gained international acclaim and use
  • The trust encouraged clinical and service innovation at all levels, through their Compassionate Care Programme.

The report identifies a number of areas where the trust must make improvements including:

  • The hospital must ensure surgical staff are completing patients’ observational NEWS charts fully – and escalating unwell patients
  • All medical wards should ensure that patient medical records are locked away
  • Medical wards must ensure that hand hygiene practices are clear throughout the wards and make antibacterial gel obvious to visitors and relatives of patients
  • The trust must ensure that the World Health Organisation five steps to Safer Surgery checklist is fully embedded.


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 Brompton and Harefield NHS Foundation Trust has approximately 512 inpatient beds, of which 360 are general acute beds, 59 paediatric beds and 93 critical care beds. It delivers in the region of 38,619 inpatient admissions and 178,495 outpatient attendances.

The organisation delivers care across two hospital sites: the Royal Brompton Hospital site, Chelsea and the Harefield Hospital site. The trust employs in the region of 3,298 staff.

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.