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The Walton Centre NHS Foundation Trust rated as Outstanding – another Outstanding Trust on Merseyside

21 October 2016
The Walton Centre NHS Foundation Trust
  • Media

England's Chief Inspector of Hospitals has found The Walton Centre NHS Foundation Trust to be Outstanding after an inspection by the Care Quality Commission.

It is the second specialist hospital in the country to receive the highest rating – and the second on Merseyside.

The Walton Centre NHS Foundation Trust is the only specialist hospital trust in the UK dedicated to providing comprehensive neurology, neurosurgery, spinal and pain management services. The trust receives patients from Merseyside, Cheshire, Lancashire, Greater Manchester, the Isle of Man and North Wales, a catchment area with a population of 3.5 million people.

CQC carried out an announced inspection from 5 to 8 April this year and also undertook an unannounced inspection on 21 April.

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

“The Walton Centre NHS Foundation Trust is a centre of excellence delivering state of the art, world class care.   On our inspection we found its services Outstanding for being effective and caring.

“We were particularly impressed with the centre's attention to detail throughout the patients' journey through the hospital.

“On admission, patients typically presented with a diverse range of medical, physical, sensory and social needs, requiring specialist multidisciplinary care. Throughout the wards and departments we inspected we found teams worked well across disciplines particularly in critical care and specialised rehabilitation services.

“Patients undergoing rehabilitation had a comprehensive assessment of their needs which included activities of daily living such as recreational activities and mobility. I note that in keeping with the organisation's caring ethos the trust has a flat within the rehabilitation unit to enable patients to live semi-independently in an environment where they could also access support and trial what it would be like if they were living at home independently.

All of this demonstrates that this is one of the best specialist trusts in England and I congratulate all the staff on their outstanding rating.”

There were many factors that contributed to the outstanding rating including:

  • The trust participated in the international Spine TANGO program which benchmarked their surgical outcomes against other services across Europe
  • The trust took part in the Multiple Sclerosis Trust ‘Generating Evidence in Multiple Sclerosis Services ‘(GEMS) 2014/15. This report documented an extensive service analysis which informed the national GEMS project which in turn was used to support NICE (National Institute for Health and Care Excellence) guidance.  The services are then evaluated for compliance with NICE standards
  • In addition the trust was rated as the overall top acute trust in England in relation to the patient-led assessments of the care environment - the trust scored 99% for cleanliness and 98% for condition, appearance and maintenance.
  • In surgery, the interactive ‘TIMS’ theatre live tracking system was an innovative system which allowed live tracking of patients through their theatre journey. This system also allowed consultants to book their own patients on to theatre lists while in clinic. A number of other organisations had visited the centre to benchmark against this system
  • In the specialist rehabilitation service, staff carried out care, comfort and communication checks (three C’s) at least every two hours, on every patient to make sure that they were supported and their needs met appropriately.
  • The trust had developed a role of advanced healthcare scientist role in the neurophysiology to support an area that was previously consultant led. The role involved the healthcare scientist undertaking aspects of theatre monitoring that would have previously been the remit of a consultant neurophysiologist.
  • In medical services, inspectors found examples of outstanding care where patients’ individual needs were met using alternative approaches to rehabilitation pathways which involved patients and their families. This included developing a garden area where family were encouraged to attend and garden with the patient.

There are some areas where CQC has told the trust they must make improvements. In medical care the trust must ensure all equipment is available and in date on the resuscitation trolleys on Lipton and Chavasse wards.

The reports which CQC publishes today are based on a combination of its inspection findings, information from CQC’s Intelligent Monitoring system, and information provided by patients, the public and other organisations.


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Last updated:
29 May 2017

Notes to editors

This report follows a comprehensive inspection on the quality of services provided at. The Walton Centre NHS Foundation Trust. Inspection teams include a range of clinical and other experts including experts by experience.

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? Find out more about CQC’s approach to inspection.

Registered providers of health and social care services are required to display their ratings on their premises and on their websites so that the public can see their rating quickly and easily.

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.