• Organisation

Ashford and St. Peter's Hospitals 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: We are carrying out checks on locations registered by this provider. We will publish the reports when our checks are complete.

All Inspections

13 June to 11 July 2018

During a routine inspection

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

We rated effective, caring responsive and well-led as good. We rated safe as requires improvement overall.

In outpatients at Ashford Hospital we rated safe and well-led as requires improvement and caring and responsive as good. We did not rate effective. We rated the service as requires improvement overall

In urgent and emergency care we rated safe, responsive and well-led as requires improvement and caring and effective as good. We rated the service as requires improvement overall.

In critical care we rated safety, responsive, effective as good and caring and well-led as outstanding. We rated the service as outstanding overall.

In medicine at St Peters we rated safe as requires improvement and effective, caring, responsive and well-led as good. We rated the service as good overall.

In children and young people’s services we rated safe, effective, caring, responsive and well-led as good, and the service as good overall.

We did not inspect all core services. The previous ratings for those services we did not inspect were taken into account when working out the overall trust ratings for this inspection.

We rated well-led for the trust overall as good.

The service managed patient safety incidents well. Staff recognised incidents and reported them appropriately and could discuss the processes involved.

The service used safety monitoring results well and participated in the national safety thermometer scheme. Staff collected safety information and shared it with staff, patients and visitors. The trust used information to improve the service.

The service controlled infection risk well. Staff kept themselves, equipment and the premises clean. They used control measures to prevent the spread of infection. Standards of hygiene and infection rates were monitored to identify any risks and infection rates were low.

Staff kept appropriate records of patients’ care and treatment. Multi-disciplinary, electronic records were clear, up-to-date and available to all staff providing care.

Staff understood how to protect patients from abuse and the service worked well with other agencies to do so. Staff had training on how to recognise and report abuse and they knew how to apply it. Specialist teams support ward staff and patients in vulnerable circumstances.

The service had enough staff with the right qualifications, skills, training and experience to keep people safe from avoidable harm and abuse and to provide the right care and treatment. Recruitment, especially of nursing staff was a major challenge to the trust. However, there were systems, including the use of a flexible workforce that ensured there was a match between staff on duty and patients’ needs.

The service provided care and treatment based on national guidance and evidence of its effectiveness. Managers checked to make sure staff followed guidance through programmes of audit.

The trust made sure staff were competent for their roles. There was a programme of mandatory training and staff had opportunities to develop their skills and gain experience and qualifications to help them do their jobs effectively.

Staff always had access to up-to-date, accurate and comprehensive information on patients’ care and treatment. Electronic records were used effectively and there were electronic systems to ensure patients’ conditions were monitored

To Be Confirmed

During an inspection looking at part of the service

Ashford and St Peter’s NHS Foundation NHS Trust provides services across north-west Surrey to a population of 410,000 people. The trust provides district general hospital services and some specialist services such as neonatal intensive care and limb reconstruction surgery from sites at Ashford and St Peter’s Hospitals.

To get to the heart of patients’ experiences of care and treatment, we ask the same five questions of all services: are they safe, effective, caring, responsive to people's needs, and well-led? Where we have a legal duty to do so, we rate the performance of services against each key question as outstanding, good, requires improvement or inadequate.

When we inspected the trust in December 2014 we rated it as good overall. We rated safety as requires improvement and effective, caring, responsive and well-led as good. The result of our focussed inspection did not change the ratings from the previous inspection.

We previously found that the trust was in breach of regulations four times. These related to some lack of staff awareness of emergency procedures, the learning from patient feedback and critical incident in the critical care unit, the secure storage of confidential patient records and the safe storage of medicines. We told the trust that it must give us an action plan showing how it would bring services into line with the regulations, and we have monitored this progress of this action plan with them.

At this inspection, we found that the trust had improved.

The trust had taken action to comply with the regulations for all four breaches, although the procedures for monitoring the temperature of medicines storage needed further embedding in practice. However, we had confidence that services were now delivered in line with regulations.

We will continue to monitor the performance of this service and inspect it again as part of our ongoing inspection programme.

Professor Sir Mike Richards

Chief Inspector of Hospitals

2 to 5 December and 14 December 2014

During a routine inspection

Ashford and St Peter’s Hospitals became a foundation trust on 1 December 2010. As an NHS Foundation Trust there is greater freedom and scope to provide services for patients and the communities and more financial control of investments and expenditure.

The trust provides district general hospital services to a population of around 410,000 people living in the boroughs of Runnymede, Spelthorne, Woking and parts of Elmbridge, Hounslow and Surrey Heath. There are variations within those areas in terms of the ethnic diversity of the local populations and levels of deprivation. In Spelthorne and Runnymede the average proportion of Black and minority ethnic residents was 12.7% and 11% respectively, both lower than that of England of 14.6%. The average proportion of Black and minority ethnic residents in Hounslow was 48.6%, significantly higher than that of England (14.6%). Deprivation in all three areas was the same as the England average, but with higher-than-the-England-average rates of children in poverty and statutory homelessness in Hounslow. The trust also provided some specialist services including neonatal intensive care, bariatric (weight loss) and limb reconstruction surgery.

At the time of this inspection, there had been some recent changes within the executive team. The chief executive had been in post since September 2014, having previously been the chief nurse since 2010.The chief nurse had been in post since October 2014, having previously been the deputy chief nurse and associate director of quality. The chair had been in post since 2008.

We carried out this comprehensive inspection as part of our in-depth inspection programme. The trust had been assessed as band 6 and 5 in our ‘intelligent monitoring’ system between March 2014 and July 2014. (The intelligent monitoring looks at a wide range of data, including patient and staff surveys, hospital performance information, and the views of the public and local partner organisations.) Our inspection was carried out in two parts: the announced visit, which took place on 3–5 December 2014; and the unannounced visit, which took place on 14 December 2014.

Our key findings were as follows:


  • Safety required improvement in urgent and emergency care, medical care, surgery, critical care and children and young people.
  • Staff were aware of the requirements for reporting incidents, which were investigated with findings and learning being reported back locally.
  • There were concerns with the safe storage of medicines in some medical and surgical wards and a concern that staff in the children’s wards were not all up to date with medicines management training.
  • All areas we visited were visibly clean.
  • We looked at a selection of resuscitation equipment across clinical areas and found that this was correctly serviced, cleaned and checked at regular intervals.
  • Records were not consistently stored to maintain patient confidentiality. Some records were not accurate in reflecting the needs of patients.
  • There were challenges in clinical areas being able to recruit and retain staff which led to a lack of sufficient permanent staff and caused a number of staff to work additional hours in theatres, critical care and the children’s ward. Staff in other areas found it difficult at times to attend training.
  • The trust was working to achieve a target of 100% for completion of the World Health Organization (WHO) surgical safety checklist. There had been a recent relaunch of the checklist and communication to staff as part of the drive for improvement.


  • All services were found to be effective.
  • There was evidence of good multidisciplinary working across the trust; of note was the competent specialist palliative care team who worked successfully throughout the hospital. They were accessible, visible and well-utilised.
  • The clinical effectiveness of the services was good. Care and treatment was delivered by trained and experienced medical staff and committed nurses. The service followed national guidelines, practice and directives.
  • Patients’ pain was assessed in services using appropriate pain assessment tools and there was a dedicated acute pain team who were easily accessible to ward staff. For patients who had a cognitive impairment, such as dementia, staff used the Bolton Pain Assessment Scale to aid their assessment.
  • Staff had access to policies and protocols which took account of requirements for National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) guidance relevant to their area of practice. For example, we specifically looked at the requirements of the guidance Acutely Ill Patients in Hospital (QS6), Falls: assessment and prevention of falls in older people (CG161) and Intravenous fluid IV therapy in adults in hospital (CG174) and found that policies and practice met the guidance.
  • Although no data was provided at this early stage, the Abbey Birth Centre was reporting improved outcomes for reduced uptake of pain relief, mobility in labour, less use of Syntocinon for augmentation of labour and fewer operative deliveries.


  • All services were found to be caring.
  • Caring staff throughout the hospital were seen to treat patients at the end of their lives and their relatives with dignity and respect.
  • The chaplaincy department of the hospital was proactive in its support of end of life care. The chaplain and volunteers visited the wards daily, providing support to those patients who needed spiritual support. The chaplain was also present on the end of life steering group to ensure that the spiritual needs of patients continued to be in focus. The chaplain had also reintroduced the end of life care group for relatives to provide further support.
  • Children and young people were encouraged by staff to be involved in their own care. Two young people told us that they were able to do a lot of things for themselves but that the staff were available if they needed any extra help or support. They were also able to speak to clinicians on their own.


  • All services we inspected were found to be responsive.
  • The emergency and urgent care services at St Peter’s Hospital were not always able to achieve and sustain delivery on the expected targets, despite their best intentions. This impacted on patient flow and there were frequent occurrences of patients staying in the department for excessive hours, awaiting ward beds.
  • The trust had introduced a telephone reminding service for appointments. This had helped to reduce the patient non-attendance rate from 13% to an average in the last 12 months of 8%.
  • To reduce the number of times a patient may have to attend for several outpatient appointments, staff aimed to arrange to have more than one appointment on the same day. The experience of patients was that this worked well and, although they had a long wait at times, they were pleased they had only to visit the hospital once.
  • The trust was taking action and implementing changes to respond to an increased demand in some outpatient clinic services. Some additional clinics were being run and action was being taken to improve the patient experience in appointment booking.


  • We judged improvements were required in the well led domain for critical care, services for children and young people and maternity and gynaecology services at St Peters Hospital and Out-Patients and Diagnostic Imaging at Ashford Hospital. All other services were found to be well-led.
  • In critical care we found there was no robust programme of governance, risk assessment, assurance and audit. The governance arrangements of the service were not providing feedback on incidents, audits, or results from those quality measures it had. There was a lack of accountability for driving through actions and improvements.
  • In maternity and gynaecology We found a considerable number of staff had been impacted by what had been acknowledged as some inappropriate leadership behaviours. The new Associate Director of Midwifery had been in post for 14 months and a new engaging leadership style was evident. The current leadership team had developed a vision and were working on an action plan following the external review which focused on quality and team work.
  • In services for children and young people staff on Ash Ward told us they had not had any formal leadership for the last six months and it had been a very difficult period. We were told of a number of new appointments to senior posts that were just about to start, meaning that all of the wards and departments would have their current designated senior posts filled. A Recent senior nursing staff appointment had been welcomed as there had been a period of time without leadership within the paediatric services.
  • All staff we spoke to across the hospital were aware of the trust vision. We observed that staff were putting the principles into action and, during discussions, could give examples of how they did so.
  • All staff we spoke with told us that trust and divisional leaders were highly visible.

We saw several areas of outstanding practice including:

  • Good joint working between the wards and departments, the bereavement services, chaplaincy services and the mortuary services to ensure as little distress as possible to bereaved relatives.
  • Caring staff throughout the hospital were seen to treat patients at the end of their lives and their relatives with dignity and respect.
  • The trust had a proactive escalation procedure for dealing with surges in activity and managing capacity.
  • The major incident procedures had been regularly tested internally and with external partners with reviews of learning implemented.
  • The trust had developed an Older People’s Assessment and Liaison team which enhanced the care of the frail elderly by ensuring that these patients were effectively managed by a specialist team early in their admission. The specialist team’s interventions decreased the number of admissions of this group of patients to specialty wards, and also contributed to fewer patients being readmitted. Patients and their supporters said they felt involved in care planning and discharge arrangements.
  • The electronic patient record system in the intensive care unit (soon to be brought into the high dependency unit) was outstanding. Patients benefitted from comprehensive, detailed records in one place, where all appropriate staff could access and update them at all times.
  • In critical care there was an outstanding handover session between the consultants going off duty and those coming on to shift. This included trainee doctors and made excellent use of the electronic patient record system.
  • The dinosaur trail designed to distract children on their walk to the operating theatre had proven to be very successful. It meant children were not scared when they arrived at the operating theatre.
  • The play therapy team working in the paediatric services were very enthusiastic about their work, were well-respected by children and their parents and staff. The team had won a £3,000 prize for innovative ways to brighten up the playroom.
  • The children’s ward staff worked hard with the clinical nurse specialist to ensure that patients with diabetes had a high standard of care and that there was a well-established transition to adult services.
  • The trust had a very detailed policy for use at times when patient safety needed to be maintained to enable treatment by applying mittens to patients hands to prevent them from pulling at medical devices. The policy provided staff with guidance on their use in line with the Mental Capacity Act 2005 – from the assessment of the patient, recording and continually reviewing the decisions and when to stop using the mittens.
  • The trauma and orthopaedic unit had set up an early discharge team to reduce the length of stay for patients with hip fractures. Patients had continuity of care from the hospital in to their own home as they had the same staff. This reduced their length of stay in hospital.

However, there were also areas of poor practice where the trust needs to make improvements.

Importantly, the trust must:

  • Take action to ensure that medicines in medical care services are stored at temperatures that retain their optimum condition and provide effective treatment.
  • Ensure that all trained paediatric nurses are up to date with medicines management training.
  • Take action to ensure that patients’ records are kept securely and can be located promptly when required.
  • Take action to ensure that the critical care department has sufficient numbers of suitably qualified, skilled and experienced nursing staff on the units and the outreach team to safeguard the health, safety and welfare of patients at all times.
  • Take action to ensure staffing levels on Ash Ward meet the needs of their patients at all times.
  • Take action to ensure that theatres, anaesthetics and surgical wards have sufficient numbers of suitably qualified, skilled and experienced nursing staff to safeguard the health, safety and welfare of patients at all times.
  • Ensure, in the critical care department, that there is a full range of robust safety, quality and performance data collected, audited, examined, evaluated and reported. The trust must ensure it has sight of this data, which follows the standards of a national programme, at board level.
  • Take action to ensure that medications at Ashford Hospital are being used and stored appropriately and that they are safe for use.
  • Take action to ensure that records at Ashford Hospital are secured appropriately to protect patient confidentiality.

Please refer to the location reports for details of areas where the trust SHOULD make improvements.

Professor Sir Mike Richards

Chief Inspector of Hospitals

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.