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Sheffield Children’s Hospital NHS Foundation Trust rated Good by CQC’s Chief Inspector of Hospitals following inspection

5 August 2014
  • Media

England's Chief Inspector of Hospitals has published his first report on the services provided at Sheffield Children’s Hospital.

The Care Quality Commission has rated Sheffield Children’s Hospital NHS Foundation Trust as Good with services which were safe, effective, caring, responsive and well led.

Overall, the hospital’s palliative and end of life care was rated Outstanding  while the accident and emergency, surgery, critical care, neonatal services, and outpatients were rated Good. Under the new inspection model, CQC has given individual ratings to each of the core services at the hospital. The full report and ratings are available at Sheffield Children's Hospital.

Sheffield Children’s NHS Foundation Trust is one of four dedicated children’s hospital trusts in the UK. It provides integrated healthcare for children and young people from the local population in Sheffield and South Yorkshire, as well as specialised services to children and young people nationally.

Inspectors found that staff treated patients and their families with care and respect. Parents told inspectors that the emotional support given to them was invaluable. Staff were caring and friendly, and sensitive to the cultural needs of families from ethnically diverse backgrounds.

But while the accident and emergency department and Acute Assessment Unit provided good services in a child friendly environment, there were concerns about overnight staffing, with too few doctors on duty between midnight and 8:00am. At times, the treatment areas were not secure and the general public could gain access to the area without being challenged.

Inspectors found  palliative and end of life care to be Outstanding. The department offered a choice of care within the hospital, at the hospice or at home. Inspectors also found people of different cultures and beliefs were cared for by staff that understood their cultures and beliefs and treated them with respect.

Among other areas of good practice found by inspectors were:

  • The commitment and dedication of all staff and the transparent and open culture.
  • The system used to calculate staffing numbers was developed by the chief nurse, working with colleagues to ensure all aspects of specialism and need were taken into account.
  • The care and commitment provided in the A&E department was found to be excellent, with the trust consistently meeting the four hour target for the previous twelve months.
  • There was a drive to deliver care closer to home and reduce unnecessary admissions

CQC has also told the trust that it must make improvements in a number of areas including:

  • The hospital must be staffed out of hours by enough competent staff with the right skill mix, particularly in A&E.
  • Consultant cover in critical care must be sufficient, with existing consultants supported while there are vacancies in the department.
  • There must be a robust system to ensure that paediatric patients have their ongoing care reviewed by a consultant, following their initial meeting with a consultant

The Chief Inspector of Hospitals, Professor Sir Mike Richards, said: “We identified a great deal of good practice at Sheffield Children’s Hospital  – most notably in palliative and end of life care, the first to be rated as Outstanding following our new approach to inspections. I am sure that other hospitals would benefit by learning from what this trust is doing in these services.

“We’ve rated Sheffield Children’s Hospital NHS Trust as Good overall. Staff told us that that they felt valued and enjoyed their work, and patients told inspectors that they felt cared for and had faith in staff.

“Despite our positive findings, there are some areas where the trust can improve, most notably in ensuring there is always enough staff cover out of hours particularly in A&E. We will return in due course to check that these changes have been made.

An inspection team which included doctors, nurses, hospital managers, trained members of the public, CQC inspectors and analysts carried out an announced inspection visit in May.

Inspectors also visited the hospital unannounced as part of the inspection, held focus groups with staff, and held a public listening event. The report which CQC publishes today is based on a combination of their findings, information from CQC’s Intelligent Monitoring system, and information provided by patients, the public and other organisations


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

The Chief Inspector of Hospitals, Professor Sir Mike Richards, is leading significantly larger inspection teams than before, headed up by clinical and other experts including trained members of the public. By the end of 2015, CQC will have inspected all acute NHS Trusts in the country with its new inspection model. 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?

The Care Quality Commission has already presented its findings to a local Quality Summit, including NHS commissioners, providers, regulators and other public bodies. The purpose of the Quality Summit is to develop a plan of action and recommendations based on the inspection team’s findings.

This report describes our judgement of the overall quality of care provided by this trust. It is based on a combination of what we found when we inspected, information from our ‘Intelligent Monitoring’ system, and information given to us from patients, the public and other organisations.

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.