• Organisation

Royal United Hospitals Bath NHS Foundation Trust

This is an organisation that runs the health and social care services we inspect

Overall: Good read more about inspection ratings
Important: Services have been transferred to this provider from another provider

You can listen to an audio version of the report for Royal United Hospitals Bath NHS Foundation Trust from our inspection on 5 June 2018, which was published on 26 September 2018. Listen to the report now

Important: We are carrying out checks on locations registered by this provider. We will publish the reports when our checks are complete.

All Inspections

5 June 2018

During a routine inspection

Our rating of the trust improved. We rated it as good because:

We rated the safe, effective and well led domains as good, with the caring domain rated as outstanding. We rated the responsive domain as requires improvement. The safe domain increased by one rating to good. All other domains remained unchanged.

Our inspection of the core services covered at the Royal United hospital were as follows.

  • Urgent and emergency care. Our overall rating of this service stayed as requires improvement. The core service ratings remained requires improvement in the safe and responsive domains. The well led domain dropped one rating to requires improvement. The effective and caring domains remained as good.
  • Medical care. Our overall rating of this service increased to good. All domains were rated as good, with both the effective and responsive domains increasing by one rating.
  • Critical Care. Our overall rating of this service increased to good. All domains were rated as good, with an increase of one rating in the safe, responsive and well led domains.
  • Children and Young People. Our overall rating of this service stayed as good. There were no changes to any of the domains, with the safe, effective, responsive and well led domains rated as good and the caring domain rated as outstanding.
  • Maternity services. Our overall rating of this service increased by one to outstanding. The effective domain remained as good, the safe domain increased one rating to good and the caring, responsive and well led domains increased one rating to outstanding.
  • On this inspection, we did not inspect surgical services, end of life care or outpatient services. The ratings awarded to these core services at the previous inspection in August 2016 form part of the overall rating awarded to the trust this time.

15-18 and 29 March 2016

During a routine inspection

We inspected the Royal United Hospitals Bath NHS Foundation Trust as part of our comprehensive inspection programme of all NHS acute trusts.

The inspection was announced and took place between 15 and 18 March 2016. We also inspected the hospital on an unannounced basis on 29 March 2016.


  • We rated safety in the trust as requires improvement. Urgent and emergency care, critical care, maternity and gynaecology, community maternity services and medical care at the Royal National Hospital for Rheumatic Diseases were rated as requires improvement. All other services were rated as good.
  • There were periods where staffing and skill mix were not as planned by the trust. This was mitigated by higher numbers of healthcare assistants and in some cases supervisory ward sisters acting in a clinical capacity. Nurse staffing and skill mix was assessed and reviewed twice a year using recognised tools to determine staffing levels. In places, wards had not been fully engaged with this in the review in August 2015, but were in February 2016. Although there was awareness and systems in place to flex nurse staffing across wards, these were not clear and relied upon the judgement of senior staff rather than being grounded in clear processes. There was however, a process in place for the authorisation of the use of agency staff and a staffing escalation policy in place. Recruitment was ongoing for nursing vacancies across the trust and the trust was training assistant nurse practitioners in order to provide additional support.
  • The trust commissioned a fire safety review in November 2015. Actions were being taken to mitigate the concerns raised. However, these were ongoing and would not be complete until quarter three of the 2016/17 financial year.  The trust told us about the actions they were taking and provided an action plan. However this action plan did not clearly show the progress and interim mitigating actions.
  • The records maintained regarding the servicing, repair and cleaning of equipment was not always clear and did not provide assurance that all equipment was being regularly maintained.ithin maternity services, there were not sufficient numbers of key equipment available, for example epidural pumps. For example, within the maternity services.
  • Improvements were required in record management around secure storage of community midwives completed diaries.
  • Patients admitted to the medical ward at the Royal National Hospital for Rheumatic Diseases with complex needs did not have care plans in place to provide the staff with detailed information and guidance regarding their care and treatment needs.
  • Patient monitoring records and charts at the Royal National Hospital for Rheumatic Diseases were not fully or consistently completed.
  • It was not clear that correct procedures had been consistently followed when staff identified safeguarding concerns in relation to a patient admitted to the ward at the Royal National Hospital for Rheumatic Diseases.
  • Patients admitted to the ward at the Royal National Hospital for Rheumatic Diseases were screened for infections prior to being admitted. However, the results from the screening test were not stored in the notes held on the ward but returned to medical records. This meant there was a risk that the promotion and control of infection on the ward would not be effective.
  • Not all staff at the Royal National Hospital for Rheumatic Diseases had completed their mandatory training.
  • There was no clear system in place at the Royal National Hospital for Rheumatic Diseases to provide consultant cover for medical patients who were transferred from the Royal United Hospital.
  • Openness and transparency about safety was encouraged and embedded across the hospital. Systems were in place for the recording, investigation and learning from incidents. Staff understood their responsibilities to raise and report concerns, incidents and near misses. There was evidence that learning was widely shared across the hospital. However, within critical care not all incidents were reported and had become ‘every day events’.
  • When something went wrong, patients received a sincere and timely apology. They were told about any actions taken to improve processes to prevent the same happening again. The majority of staff understood their responsibilities under the Duty of Candour requirement and could provide examples when they had been used.
  • Performance showed a good track records and steady improvements in safety. The morality risk was similar at weekends to that during the week within the hospital and the trust scored within the expected range. Rates of new pressure ulcers, falls and catheter acquired urinary tract infections were monitored with no discernible trends. There were techniques in place to help patients avoid harm. These included: the discrete identification of risks on the patient board, for example, their risk of falls and vulnerable pressure areas; and, comfort rounds carried out by staff.
  • Medicines were managed effectively throughout the hospital, with secure storage and effective recording where appropriate.
  • In the majority of the hospital infection control practices were good. However, in some areas of the hospital for example, in critical carethe emergency department and maternity services, cleaning required improvement. There had also been a higher rate of infections with Clostridium difficile than the hospital target, and also a case of legionella colonisation on one of the wards.
  • Records throughout the hospital were stored securely. However, there were some instances where confidential information was not secure if left unattended.
  • The completion of records was variable within the hospital. In most areas records were completed and there were clear plans of care and treatment for patients. However, within the emergency department, records were not always completed in order to ensure that it was easy to identify if a patient’s condition was deteriorating.
  • In most areas of the hospital there was a proactive approach to anticipating and managing risks to patients. These were embedded and were recognised as being the responsibility of staff. However, within the emergency department, the time taken to triage and assess patients self-presenting at the department (not being admitted by ambulance) was not consistently recorded and accurate performance data was not available. This meant we could not be assured that patients were quickly assessed to identify or rule out life r monitored, and so it was not or limb threatening possible to monitor the risks associated with patients presenting with potentially life threatening conditions to ensure patient safety. We saw examples of patients waiting over an hour for initial assessment.  waiting for a long period of time for assessment.
  • There were clearly defined and embedded systems, processes and standard operating procedures to keep patients safeguarded from abuse. Staff understood the processes and there was evidence of reporting occurring as necessary.


  • We rated the effectiveness of services within the trust as good. All services that we rated for effectiveness were good with the exception of medical services at the Royal United Hospital Bath which was rated as requires improvement.
  • Patients care and treatment was planned and delivered in line with current evidence-based guidance and standards. We saw good levels of compliance with recognised care pathways, including those for sepsis and stroke care within the emergency department.
  • Compliance with protocols and standards was monitored through both internal and national audit. Performance with national audits was mostly in-line with or better than other trusts. For example, the trust was rated C in the Sentinal Stroke National Audit Programme, which placed them in the top 44% of trusts offering stroke care. There was evidence that audit was used to improve performance and practice, for example in the treatment of sepsis in the emergency department. However, improvement was required in the National Diabetes Inpatient Audit from 2015. Improvements were also required in the audit of compliance with guidance on the termination of pregnancy and the monitoring of rated of infection post caesarean section for learning.
  • Patient outcomes were generally good, although patient reported outcome measures (PROMs) for patients receiving surgical treatment for groin hernias and varicose veins were worse than the England average.
  • Patients were offered support with their meals and additional snacks and drinks were available to patients at all times.
  • In most areas of the trust, staff were provided with the training and support they needed to do their job. In the emergency department nursing and medical staff receive regular teaching and supervision. They were encouraged and supported to develop areas of interest in order to develop professionally and progress in their careers. However, appraisal performance in services for children and young people required improvement.
  • Care was delivered in a coordinated way with support from specialist teams and services. There was close, collaborative working across the trust for example, between the emergency department, stroke team, discharge assessment team, specialist nurse for older people, mental health liaison service and the alcohol liaison service. The multidisciplinary team working at the Royal National Hospital for Rheumatic Diseases was effective and at times outstanding.
  • Staff at the Royal National Hospital for Rheumatic Diseases were encouraged to undertake role specific training to ensure they were competent and provided a high standard of care and treatment.
  • Staff had a good understanding of the Mental Capacity Act 2005 and were able to describe the process where they would recognise if a deprivation of liberty was occurring or was likely to occur. In this situation, they would work with trust staff to apply to the local authority to authorise the deprivation, or exercise the trust’s right to have a trust-appointed urgent authorisation (providing an application went to the local authority alongside this). Staff explained how any deprivation would be after other avenues to provide safe care had been explored. Any deprivation to protect or care for the vulnerable patient would be in their best interests. A vulnerable patient would be one who did not have the mental capacity at the time to make his or her own decisions. The trust policy stated an authorisation would not be considered if the patient’s stay was not likely to be more than 72 hours, but it did not provide for flexibility in relation to the application of the 72-hour rule. The policy also did not yet reference the 2015 guidance from The Law Society for deprivation of liberty in hospital settings.
  • Patients were assessed and provided with adequate pain relief most of the time. We saw some examples of where assessed pain levels were not recorded and pain relief was not provided in a timely manner in the emergency department. Additional equipment was required to assist with pain and discomfort during labour and birth.
  • Not all services at the Royal National Hospital for Rheumatic Diseases were operational over seven days. Patients did not have routine access to therapy, x-ray and medical staff out of hours. There was no clear pathway for medical patients to be seen or reviewed by a consultant.


  • Overall, caring within the trust was rated as outstanding. Services for children and young people and end of life care at the Royal United Hospital Bath were rated as outstanding, with all other services rated as good.
  • Patients were treated with kindness and compassion. Staff throughout the trust provided reassurance when patients were anxious and confused. Within services for children, staff were skilled in communicating with children and young people to minimise their anxiety and to keep them informed of what was happening.
  • Children and young people were treated as individuals and as part of a family. Feedback was exceptionally positive about the care they received, and praised the way staff really understood the needs of the child and involved the whole family.
  • Within end of life care, patients and their families were universally positive about the way they were treated by staff. There was a strong patient-centred culture and staff across the hospital were motivated to provide high quality end of life care and support that promoted patients’ dignity and respect. This was centred around an approach called the conversation project.
  • Patients were treated with courtesy, dignity and respect. Patients and their relatives were greeted by staff who introduced themselves with their name and role.
  • Across the trust, patients and their families were involved as partners in their care. Parents, siblings and grandparents were encouraged to be involved in children and young people’s care and treatment.
  • Patients understood their care, treatment and condition, worked with staff to plan their care and shared decision-making about their care and treatment. Doctors and nurses took time to explain care in a sensitive and unhurried manner.
  • There was a trust wide approach to initiating conversations with patients and relatives who were making the transition to end of life care.
  • However, within critical care there was limited support for patients who stayed on the unit for a long time, in order to keep them in touch with life going on around them. For example, there was not active use or promotion of using quality patient diaries.
  • Improvements were required in the number of patients engaging in feedback of experience surveys in maternity services.
  • Within outpatient and diagnostic imaging services, staff did not always respect confidentiality when speaking with patients at reception desks.


  • Overall, improvements were required to ensure that services within the trust were responsive to patients’ needs. The Royal United Hospital Bath was rated as requires improvement overall for responsive. Urgent and emergency services, medical care, surgery, critical care and outpatients and diagnostic imaging provided at the Royal United Hospital were rated as requires improvement. However, services for children and young people, maternity and gynaecology and community maternity were rated as good with end of life care rated as outstanding. Services at the Royal National Hospital for Rheumatic Diseases were rated as requires improvement overall for responsive, with medical care requiring improvement and outpatients and diagnostics rated as good.
  • Access and flow within and from the emergency department required improvement.  was an issue within the trust. Although 95% of patients arriving by ambulance received an assessment within eight   minutes of arrival being admitted to in the emergency department, the hospital consistently failed to meet the standard which requires that for 95% of patients are to be discharged, admitted or transferred within four hours of arrival. There had been a worsening trend since October 2015 with the worst performance in January 2016 at 71.8%. The average for the year (stated in data in January 2016) was 86.6%. Despite this there were no patients who waited in the department for longer than 12 hours on a trolley. , A although patients did remain in the department overnight when there were no beds available in the trust, the 12 hour standard was not breached.
  • However, this was not solely an emergency department problem. The flow of patients throughout the trust from admission to discharge was not efficient. Patients sometimes stayed in hospital longer because ward teams were not able to arrange transfer to community hospitals or to easily access packages of social care in the community.
  • There were a number of initiatives ongoing in the hospital to improve the flow of patients. For example, there was a ward flow pilot project to streamline the process of transferring patients from the medical assessment unit to speciality wards. The emergency surgical ambulatory unit had reduced the need for patients referred by their GP to the Royal United Hospital Bath to be admitted to the hospital.
  • There were long waiting times, delays and cancellations of routine operations within the trust. Access to specialist treatment for routine patients was greater than the 18 week standard across surgical specialties and in gastroenterology, cardiology and dermatology. From May 2015 when the standard was abolished, timely access to these services deteriorated further. The short stay surgical unit had been used as an escalation ward since December 2015, in order to accommodate the demand on services across the hospital. This had an impact on the number of elective operations that the trust could perform.
  • Within outpatient services, 14 out of 31 specialty departments were breaching the national standard for patients to receive their outpatient appointment within 12 weeks of referral, in order that treatment can start within 18 weeks. However, the trust met the national cancer waiting time standards. There were delays for follow up patients receiving appointments at the Royal National Hospital for Rheumatic Diseases. However, patients were provided with appointment dates promptly when assessed as requiring admission to the ward to take part in a pain management programme.
  • Services were developed in response to patient need. For example, the fibromyalgia service.
  • Due to pressure on services, we found that patients were being moved between wards at night. Data collected showed that the number of patient moves after 10pm had reduced between October and November 2015. This occurred in surgical and critical care services. In addition patients in critical care experienced delays in being discharged from the unit because of pressure on services elsewhere in the trust. These delays were worse than the national average. However, there were fewer urgent operations cancelled due to the lack of an available critical care bed.
  • Although admission criteria had been developed for patients being transferred to the Royal National Hospital for Rheumatic Diseases from the Royal United Hospital Bath, these were not always complied with.
  • Most services in the hospital were responsive to people’s individual needs. There were very good facilities for patients living with dementia in all areas. For example within outpatients there was a sensory box in place to support patients using distraction therapy. There was good support for patients with a learning disability and their families and carers in all areas. However, within critical care, there were no follow up clinics and limited or p psychological support for patients following discharge from the unit, no high or low-level communication aids for patients , and there were limited facilities for relatives on the unit. Also at the Royal National Hospital for Rheumatic Diseases the ward did not fully meet the care needs for patients who lived with dementia. However the admission criteria was clear that patients with dementia should not be transferred to the hospital.
  • Within maternity services, there was good access and flow, although gynaecology services were affected by the access and flow issues in the rest of the hospital. There was; however, room for significant improvement in the provision of specialist bereavement services for maternity patients and their families experiencing loss. Staff were not trained in this and t The designated areas identified to care for bereaved women and their families lacked privacy, space and facilities.
  • Services for children and young people were tailored to meet their needs and delivered in a flexible way. Although facilities within the areas of the hospital designated for children and young people were good, other areas, including the theatre recovery rooms were not child friendly.
  • The responsiveness of end of life care within the hospital was outstanding. There was an individual approach to the planning and delivery of end of life care. The trust worked with services in the local community to provide continuity of care where possible. Rapid discharge was provided for patients when the appropriate packages of care were available in the community. The trust engaged commissioners and community services in driving improvements in end of life care.
  • Complaints were managed effectively across the hospital. There were no barriers to making a complaint, they were handled in an open manner and opportunities for learning and improvement were acted upon.

Well Led:

  • We rated the well led domain as good. All services within the Royal United Hospital Bath were rated as good with the exception of critical care which was rated as requires improvement. Community Maternity services were rated as good. At the Royal National Hospital for Rheumatic Diseases, the well led domain was rated as requires improvement overall, requires improvement for medical care and good for outpatients and diagnostic imaging services.
  • The leadership, governance and culture promoted the delivery of high-quality person centred care. There was a clear statement of vision and values within the trust which was driven by quality and safety. Some departments, for example, the emergency department had created mission statements.
  • There were effective governance frameworks throughout the hospital, risks were identified and the majority were mitigated effectively. Leaders were aware of challenges to patient care within services and identified plans for improvement. Cross department and directorate working were evident on work which was ongoing to improve the flow of patients through the hospital and out into the community. Partnership working was evident.
  • Clinical and internal audit processes were well embedded and had a positive impact on quality governance.
  • There was an open culture within the whole trust and staff were proud of the service they delivered to patients. People were encouraged to report incidents. There was a culture of safe innovation, with staff telling us of the “Dragon’s Den” approach to pitching areas for improvement to the trust board.
  • Leadership within directorates was visible, and staff felt supported in their roles. There was clear local leadership at the Royal National Hospital for Rheumatic Diseases and staff were confident and able to approach the hospital manager for support and guidance when necessary. However, not all staff saw their line manager regularly and sought support from other managers on site when needed.


  • The plans to improve meaningful staff engagement were not embedded at the time of the inspection and it was not possible to evaluate the impact of them.
  • Whilst the trust had made a positive start to work to ensure employees from black, minority and ethnic (BME) backgrounds have equal access to career opportunities and receive fair treatment in the workplace, that work had not yet started to have an impact.
  • The staff survey results showed areas where the trust was is performing worse than other trusts and these needed addressing.
  • The critical care service lacked senior nurse leadership as there had been no matron in post for over a year prior to our inspection. Although there was support from the clinical lead, senior sister and senior manager providing temporary oversight, the unit was not performing as it should without the guidance of its most senior nursing post. The unit was not always benefitting from the wider experience and skills of trust-wide teams. The leadership did however, promote the delivery of safe patient care and there had been improvements in safety and quality measurement and governance arrangements. There had also been measurable and valuable innovation and change within the unit following audit, research and investigations into best practice.
  • The trust had acquired the Royal National Hospital for Rheumatic Diseases in February 2015. Governance systems had been put in to place and in some areas were working well, in others they had not fully embedded. There was limited monitoring and quality measurement of the care and treatment records maintained for patients on the ward. There were significant gaps in the care records which had not been identified or addressed.
  • It was not clear that feedback from patients at the Royal National Hospital for Rheumatic Diseases had been actioned or that information was provided to staff regarding such actions. For example, patients had requested cooked food at breakfast times but staff were not aware whether there were any plans to address this.

We saw several areas of outstanding practice including:

  • The emergency department had developed guidelines on the management of patients during periods of high demand and when flow out of the department was limited.The guidelines aimed to reduce patient safety risks associated with overcrowding by minimising the number of patients with undifferentiated diagnosis waiting in the corridor. The document also describes measures to maintain the comfort and dignity of patient queuing in the corridor.
  • SSSU and SAU had Project Search Students. This programme provided a mixture of structured work placements and classroom learning for young people living with learning disabilities. It was evident that the students were part of the team and had a clear set of tasks and structure to their daily routine.
  • The SAU operated an Emergency Surgical Ambulatory Care Unit (ESAC). As part of a Quality Improvement Project (QUIPP 5.8) it was recognised that patients waiting for emergency surgical procedures such as hernia and abscesses (category C and D as classified by NCEPOD), were not being managed properly. These patients were often starved and cancelled at the end of an emergency theatre lists due to running out of theatre time. The ESAC had two dedicated surgeons, which operated a booked emergency list, which focused on these patients and had eight spaces. It had its own dedicated ultra sound equipment, room and a Sonographer who has a dedicated inpatient clinic for two hours a day, Monday to Friday.
  • The ESAC unit was run by two band seven Nurse Practitioners, Monday to Friday. The Nurse Practitioners also ran a Nurse Led Clinic, which managed complex dressings, and an Accelerated Discharge Programme, which aimed to get patients home sooner but still give them the support and treatment required as an outpatient rather than inpatient.
  • There was outstanding caring to children, young people, their parents and the extended family.
  • Frontline staff and senior managers were passionate about providing a high quality service for children and young people with a continual drive to improve the delivery of care.
  • There was excellent local leadership of the children’s service. Senior clinical managers were strong and committed to the children, young people and families who used the service, and also to their staff and each other.
  • The trust had run The Conversation Project, which was an initiative to improve communication between staff and patients and relatives about care for the dying patient.
  • The trust had implemented new documentation called The Priorities of Care for recording a personalised care plan for the dying patient.
  • We observed and heard from patients and relatives numerous examples of outstanding, compassionate care provided by nursing, medical and cleaning staff for patients at the end of their lives.
  • We saw some outstanding practice within the outpatients department, in how staff treated and supported patients living with a learning disability. This included providing double appointments, rearranging appointments out of hours so patients with anxiety problems could be seen without other patients around. We saw how carers were fully involved where appropriate including working with them and the patient during potentially intimate examinations.
  • The orthopaedic and fracture clinic had a sensory box that could be used for patients with dementia, a learning disability and children. The box had a range of sensory objects as well as appropriate picture books. Staff told us they use the box regularly as part of distraction therapy.
  • The Royal National Hospital for Rheumatic Disease was a centre of excellence for lupus care and treatment.
  • The Royal National Hospital for Rheumatic Disease had received national recognition by the Health Service Journal as the best specialist place to work in 2015.
  • The Fibromyalgia service had been developed in response to patient need and was now being set up to become a franchised model to share the programme with other trusts.
  • The Complex Regional Pain Syndrome (CRPS) service held a weekly multidisciplinary meeting. We attended this meeting during our inspection and found the content and style of the meeting to be outstanding.
  • Staff worked well as a multi-disciplinary team throughout the hospital. We saw outstanding team working during a multi-disciplinary team meeting we attended. The patient was at the centre of the meeting, with all professionals striving to promote the health and wellbeing of the patient.
  • Patients could attend the RNHRD either as in patients or staying nearby in self-contained flats, dependent on their care needs and independent living skills. The patients who stayed on the ward were provided with care from the nursing staff. The psychologists who led the pain management programmes provided nursing staff with informal training regarding the philosophy of the programme and how to support patients with their treatment.

Importantly, the trust must:

  • The trust must continue to work in collaboration with partners and stakeholders in its catchment area to improve patient flow within the whole system, thereby taking pressure off the emergency department, reducing overcrowding and the length of time that patients spend in the department.
  • The trust must take steps to ensure that the emergency department is consistently staffed to planned levels to deliver safe, effective and responsive care.
  • The trust must take steps to ensure that all staff in the emergency department are up-to-date with mandatory training.
  • The trust must monitor and report on the time to initial assessment of patients who self-present in the emergency department.
  • The trust must take steps to improve record keeping within the emergency department, so that patients’ records provide a contemporaneous account of assessment, care and treatment.
  • The trust must take steps to ensure that patients in the emergency department receive prompt and regular observations and that early warning scores are calculated, recorded and acted upon.The trust must ensure staff in the emergency department adhere to safe systems to ensure resuscitation equipment and medicines are safely stored.
  • The trust must take steps to improve recording of pain assessment scores and pre-hospital medication and ensure that patients who need it receive prompt and appropriate pain relief.
  • The trust must take action to ensure that staffing reviews are robust and reflect accurate and comprehensive data for all medical wards. The trust must continue to mitigate the risks associated with less than planned staffing levels to ensure safe staffing on medical wards for every shift
  • The trust must take action to ensure that relevant staff are aware of the major incident protocol.
  • The trust must take action to improve the safe storage of medical notes on the surgical wards.
  • The trust must employ an experienced nurse to the post of critical care matron, a post that has been vacant for 15 months.
  • The trust must ensure the approved operating policy for critical care is understood and followed by hospital staff when considering moving nursing staff to work on other wards. Review nursing staff levels so they meet recommended guidance for critical care to enable the supervisors/coordinators, protected staff, and clinical educators to fulfil their roles.
  • The trust must review the incident reporting procedures within critical care to ensure staff are aware of what constitutes an incident, staff are enabled to report all incidents, and they receive feedback and follow-up from those they report.
  • The trust must ensure all areas of the critical care unit are clean, tidy and organised to allow good cleaning to take place.
  • The trust must review the equipment on the critical care unit to ensure all maintenance and servicing is up-to-date and then accurately recorded. Ensure all equipment and medicines are checked as required and stored safely, preventing the risk of tampering, and to meet legal requirements.
  • The trust must ensure the access and flow of patients in the rest of the hospital reduces delays from critical care for patients admitted to wards. Reduce the number of patient discharges at night.
  • The trust must make sure policies, guidance and protocols for providing care and treatment within critical care are reviewed and up-to-date with best practice at all times.
  • The trust must ensure there are specialist bereavement staff and there is an appropriate environment to effectively provide care and support for bereaved gynaecology and maternity patients and their families.
  • The trust must ensure care records and documentation such as risk assessments, referrals to other professionals and clinicians, care plans and monitoring records such as food and fluid charts are in place. The records should be in sufficient detail and maintained appropriately to direct and inform staff on the action they must take to meet the care and treatment needs for patients.
  • The trust must ensure that appropriate medical care is provided for patients transferred to the RNHRD from the medical wards at RUH.
  • Must take action to ensure that community midwives diaries are stored securely for at least 25 years.

In addition the trust should:

  • The trust should continue to develop cooperative relationships between the emergency department and other
  • ensure the emergency department is supported by the wider hospital and there is more engagement from specialties in the urgent care improvement programme.The trust should ensure the workload pressures associated with overcrowding in the emergency department are understood and staff are supported as appropriate. The trust should continue to work with partners to improve the responsiveness of out of hours support for adults, children and young people with mental health issues.
  • The trust should continue to work with partners to improve the responsiveness of the patient transport service.
  • The trust should ensure patient records are stored securely on the cardiac ward.
  • The trust should ensure staff are compliant with safeguarding children level two and safeguarding adults level two training.
  • The trust should take action to improve the performance of the diabetes service, particularly with regard to prescription errors and the number of patients seen by a multidisciplinary foot team within 24 hours.
  • The medical division should ensure specialty clinical governance meetings occur regularly.
  • The trust should ensure improvement plans to address difficulties of flow within the medical service proceed and the impact of these changes are critically monitored.
  • The trust should ensure re-assessments of risk of venous thromboembolism are consistently completed.
  • The trust should ensure staff identify review dates and stop dates for antibiotics prescribed.
  • The trust should ensure that actions resulting from external reviews, for example fire safety reviews, are clearly documented and acted upon in a timely manner.
  • The trust should make sure chemicals and substances that are hazardous to health (COSHH) are secured and not accessible to patients and visitors on the surgical wards sluice area.
  • The trust should continue with their action plan to reduce their RTT in all surgical specialities.
  • The trust should continue to recognise and address issues with nursing staff shortages on the surgical wards.
  • The trust should make sure medical staff on the surgical wards are up-to-date with their mandatory and statutory training and meet trust targets.
  • The trust should review the chairs in the admission suite as they were damaged and of the same height, which could make it difficult for patients with limited mobility.
  • The trust should reduce the number of bed moves after 10pm on the surgical wards.
  • The trust should make sure a doctor prescribes all oxygen therapy before being used.
  • The trust should make sure all operations and procedures are included on consent forms prior to the start of the procedure/operation, especially for those who lack capacity to make the decision.
  • The trust should review the SSSU meal trolley when it is plugged in as it reduces the power to the lights in the corridor, where patient’s toilets were situated.
  • The trust should make sure all equipment in theatres has the date of the last service recorded on them.
  • The trust should repair all the equipment that was broken or damaged in theatres.
  • The trust should ensure that trends in incidents are reviewed in critical care to allow actions to be taken quickly to address any areas needing to be improved.
  • All staff, particularly those in critical care and the Royal National Hospital for Rheumatic Diseases, should have access to feedback following the reporting of incidents to ensure that learning takes place after an incident.

  • The trust should look to reference the guidance by The Law Society in its policy relating to deprivation of Liberty, and ensure there is flexibility within the policy when applying the 72-hour rule.

  • The trust should display avoidable patient harm data within critical care so it shows long-term results and is meaningful to visitors.

  • The trust should complete the process of otherwise good mortality reviews within critical care services to demonstrate the implementation of actions and responsibility for their delivery.
  • The trust should make sure all confidential information relating to patients in critical care is secure.
  • The trust should review and risk-assess the provision of the critical care outreach team service or its equivalent, which was not being provided as recommended in best practice, with appropriately trained staff for 24 hours a day. Ensure there is a formal handover between the outreach team and hospital-at-night team.
  • The trust should ensure sufficient allied health professional staff are used or employed to meet the rehabilitation needs of patients in, or being discharged from, critical care at all times.
  • The trust should review the use of link roles for critical care staff to better embed this practice.
  • The trust should look to provide an assessment for patients in critical care for any poor psychological outcomes or acute psychological symptoms, and provide support in line with National Institute for Care Excellence (NICE) guidance CG83.
  • The trust should develop and implement approved strategies for patients admitted to critical care to keep them in touch with life around them. Improve the quality of communication aids for patients.
  • The trust should improve the quality and quantity of information provided to patients and visitors to critical care on both printed and electronic format.
  • The trust should look to analyse and determine how to reduce noise levels within the critical care unit.
  • The trust should progress the business care to provide patients with a consultant-led follow-up clinic for critical care.
  • The trust should ensure the critical care unit looks outside of itself to the wider hospital experienced specialist teams for input into patient care and meeting the needs of patients and their visitors.
  • The trust should produce a meaningful vision and strategy for the unit with action plans designed to improve quality and performance of the service.
  • The trust should provide effective use and management of the critical care risk register.
  • The trust should find a solution to the continuing poor relationship with the bed management/site team and ensure all sides understand and empathise with the pressures and risks to each other’s services.
  • The trust should improve direct feedback to the critical care unit from visitors and patients to capture their views and deliver services to meet their needs.
  • The trust should ensure appropriate standards and auditing of cleanliness and infection control within the maternity and gynaecology services. The trust should ensure equipment and the environment on the delivery suite is clean and decontaminated after use.
  • The trust should ensure there is enough obstetric equipment to provide epidural pain relief and to monitor the fetal heart during labour.The trust should ensure there is evidence that all equipment on the delivery suite had been serviced and checked as required.
  • The trust should ensure the safe storage of medical records on Charlotte ward.
  • The trust should ensure clear, easily accessible, written evidence in records to identify if maternity care should be midwife or consultant led.The trust should ensure the obstetric consultant staffing complies with Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists (Towards Safer Childbirth, 2007) recommendations on staffing for a unit of this siz
  • The trust should ensure effective systems are in place which evidence one to one care was provided to women in established labour 100% of the time.
  • The trust should ensure gynaecology patients are supported by specialist trained nursing staff at all times.
  • The trust should ensure systems are in place to effectively monitor and review patients for post-operative infection rates following a caesarean section.
  • The trust should ensure there is regular audit and evaluation of the termination of pregnancy services to ensure and full compliance with national guidance and recommendations.
  • The trust should make sure all confidential records are stored securely on the children’s wards.
  • The trust should ensure all areas used by children are child friendly and should particularly consider improving the environment for children in the theatre recovery rooms.
  • The trust should make sure appraisal rates are closely monitored and actions taken to improve performance for the staff on the children’s wards.
  • The trust should ensure discharge summaries are completed in an appropriate time frame.
  • Several outpatient areas were breaching their waiting time targets and had long follow-up appointment waiting lists. We acknowledge the work the trust had done to resolve these issues, but the trust should continue to work on this area and make sure patients are seen in a timely way.
  • The trust should make sure that clinic letters are typed and sent to GPs within the trust target.
  • The trust should encourage all staff, particularly those within critical care and at the Royal National Hospital for Rheumatic Diseases, to complete incident reports themselves.

  • The trust should ensure patients and visitors to the hospital could easily find their way to departments.

  • All equipment should be serviced, maintained and/or calibrated to ensure it was fit for purpose and ready to use.
  • The trust should ensure all staff were confident and competent to use emergency equipment when necessary.
  • All staff should be trained and competent to use emergency evacuation equipment.
  • The trust should ensure that patients can access hand washing facilities in every toilet.
  • The trust should ensure that fluids for intravenous infusion are not accessible to patients and visitors to the ward.
  • The trust should ensure that the mandatory training is kept up to date for all staff.
  • The trust should ensure that patient’s medical care and treatment needs can be met at the RNHRD before transfers are arranged. The transfer criteria should be complied with.
  • The trust should ensure governance systems at the Royal National Hospital for Rheumatic Diseases continue to be embedded.
  • The trust should ensure that records demonstrate the action taken when safeguarding concerns are identified.
  • The trust should ensure monitoring and quality measurement of the care and treatment records is in operation.
  • The trust should ensure that staff have access to up to date information on the patient’s infection status in particular in relation to MRSA.
  • The trust should ensure the control of infection is promoted by the cleaning of the fabric curtains used in clinical areas.
  • The trust should ensure all medicines are in date and a system for checking stock medication is introduced.
  • The trust should ensure there was evidence that equipment had been cleaned after use.
  • The trust should ensure there was evidence equipment that was the responsibility of the trust that owned the building (which may not be Royal United Hospitals Trust) had been cleaned, reviewed or renewed in line with that trusts policies.
  • The trust should ensure the safety of community midwives using rooms at Royal United Hospital Trust maternity unit, out of hours when there were no other hospital staff nearby and accessing home birth equipment at night.
  • The trust should ensure all of the birthing centres had carried out a practice emergency evacuation from their birthing pool.
  • The trust should ensure there was evidence to show which women were risk assessed as suitable for home births or delivery at a birth centre.
  • The trust should ensure there was evidence to show what increased risks would require a woman to be transferred for consultant care and/or hospital delivery.
  • The trust should ensure maternity birthing equipment is avto assist with pain and discomfort during labour and birth was available.

Professor Sir Mike Richards

Chief Inspector of Hospitals

15 - 18 March 2016

During an inspection of Other services

Overall we rated the community maternity services as good. We rated the service as good for the effective, caring, responsive and well led domains because:

  • There were effective incident reporting systems in place. Staff confirmed they received feedback and learning points.

  • Staff understood the safeguarding processes in place. They had access to support and were knowledgeable about the subject.

  • There were robust risk management and governance systems and processes in place. Staff felt engaged in the processes and received good support from the risk management team. Regular meetings were held at birthing units and in community teams with information flowing to directorate and trust level and back again.

  • There was an ongoing audit programme. There were a number of national and local audits ongoing during the inspection. There were good clinical outcomes for women using the community maternity services.

  • Women and their families received personalised care. There was additional support for women who had a learning disability or whose first language was not English.

  • Women received care and support from experienced midwives who were kind and compassionate and maintained women’s privacy and dignity.

  • Systems were in place to support access and flow through the birth centres.

  • There were systems to share information and learning.

  • There was strong interim leadership in place. A positive culture was evident at all of the services we visited.

However, we have judged the safety domain as requires improvement because:

  • Improvements were required in record management around secure storage of community midwives completed diaries. An action plan and Standard Operating Procedure were urgently developed by the service following the inspection which identified a robust mechanism for the storage of community midwife diaries.

  • Improvements were required in the management of medicines  in terms of consistent management and checking for out of date stock across all of the community services.       

Use of resources

These reports look at how NHS hospital trusts use resources, and give recommendations for improvement where needed. They are based on assessments carried out by NHS Improvement, alongside scheduled inspections led by CQC. We’re currently piloting how we work together to confirm the findings of these assessments and present the reports and ratings alongside our other inspection information. The Use of Resources reports include a ‘shadow’ (indicative) rating for the trust’s use of resources.

Intelligent Monitoring

We use our system of intelligent monitoring of indicators to direct our resources to where they are most needed. Our analysts have developed this monitoring to give our inspectors a clear picture of the areas of care that need to be followed up. Together with local information from partners and the public, this monitoring helps us to decide when, where and what to inspect.