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Trust thanks ‘outstanding’ staff as Northumbria receives top CQC rating

Wednesday, 04 May, 2016
Trust thanks ‘outstanding’ staff as Northumbria receives top CQC rating

Leaders at Northumbria Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust have today paid tribute to the thousands of dedicated NHS staff delivering care across Northumberland and North Tyneside following an ‘outstanding’ rating from independent health and social care regulator, the Care Quality Commission (CQC).

Northumbria Healthcare provides services for half a million people over some of the most rural parts of England – from Berwick in the Scottish Borders, to Haltwhistle in the west and down to Whitley Bay in North Tyneside. 

Over 9,500 dedicated staff provide care for patients across eleven hospital sites, from multiple community venues, as well as visiting people in their own homes over a 2,500 square mile footprint.

In November 2015, the trust welcomed a team of inspectors from the CQC who spent a week inspecting services, with further ‘unannounced’ visits.  Findings from the CQC’s Chief Inspector of Hospitals, Sir Mike Richards, have today been published and reveal Northumbria Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust as only the fourth organisation nationally to receive the highest possible accolade – ‘outstanding’. 

The Northumbria Specialist Emergency Care Hospital in Cramlington which opened in June 2015 and the Trust’s three main general hospitals in Hexham, North Tyneside and Wansbeck were all rated as ‘outstanding’. 

Community services, including care provided from community hospitals, were also rated ‘outstanding’ overall and the Trust was commended for its innovative and pioneering approach to end of life care.

Services provided for children, young people and families in the community across Northumberland and North Tyneside, were rated outstanding in all five domains by the CQC with patient outcomes consistently high and better than the England average.

When visiting maternity services inspectors observed staff being ‘supportive and respectful’, offering women emotional support and making sure they were fully involved in their care.  The CQC’s maternity experience survey for 2015 also placed Northumbria Healthcare in the top ten hospital trusts in England.

In total, the CQC rated 20 core services at Northumbria Healthcare as ‘outstanding’ – more than any other organisation previously inspected by the Chief Inspector of Hospitals.

The Trust was also praised for its ‘inspirational leadership’ and ‘strong clinical engagement’ which has been embedded at Northumbria over many years and began under former chief executive Jim Mackey (now chief executive at NHS Improvement) and former chairman Brian Flood, who retired earlier this year.

Today’s CQC report also identifies some areas for improvement.  In relation to maternity, the Trust has been asked to ensure its clinical strategy meets recommendations from NHS England’s national maternity review, as well as making improvements to the storage of emergency drugs and improving the entrance and exit to the new Birthing Centre.   

Northumbria Healthcare places great emphasis on listening to the views of patients, staff and members of the public.  Known as ‘The Northumbria Way’, this continuous focus on quality means that the areas identified by the CQC had already been identified by the Trust with work underway to make the necessary improvements.

Mr David Evans, chief executive of Northumbria Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust, has paid tribute to colleagues working across the organisation.  He said:  “We are immensely proud to receive such positive recognition from the CQC after such a landmark year for Northumbria.  On behalf of the trust board I would like to thank each and every member of staff for the commitment they show, every single day, to provide high quality patient care. 

“Our teams look after people when they are often at their most vulnerable, whether that is coming into hospital, coping with an ongoing health problem, or learning to live with an unexpected illness.  The care and compassion shown by our workforce touches people’s lives on a daily basis and every employee of Northumbria Healthcare should be rightfully proud of the great value they bring to our local communities and the people we serve.

“As always, we must now look to the future so that we can continue to build on our successes to date and push the boundaries of excellence in everything we do.  We will continue to listen to our staff, patients and the public so that we can improve the quality of care we provide even further.”

Chairman of Northumbria Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust, Alan Richardson, said: “Today’s CQC report is fantastic news for our staff, patients and everyone living across Northumberland and North Tyneside.

“The achievements outlined and recognised by the CQC are testament to the dedication of everyone who works for Northumbria Healthcare – not only our doctors, nurses and other clinical staff on the frontline, but the hundreds of support staff who keep our services running smoothly round the clock, 365 days a year.  All staff should be deservedly proud.

“Whilst this is an excellent report, it is important that we are not complacent as we know there will always be things that we can do better. No hospital or health care system is perfect and we still have much work to do to make sure our patients continue to experience high quality care for many years to come.

“The NHS across the country is facing many challenges with huge increases in demand for services and as a progressive, forward-thinking organisation we must continue to innovate and keep pace with change with developments. 

“Listening to our staff, patients and the people we serve will always be at the very heart of our culture and will ensure we are best placed to meet these challenges and keep moving forward as we strive to continuously improve the quality of care and services we provide. 

“The support of our partners and many public governors has been vital to the Trust’s success and we look forward to working together in the future as we now move forward into a new chapter for the organisation.”