Hinchingbrooke Hospital Removed from Special Measures by Care Quality Commission

The first NHS hospital to be placed completely under private management has been rated as good as following two years in special measures.

But regulators still ruled that Hinchingbrooke Hospital must improve its emergency care.

Hinchingbrooke was placed in special measures in September 2014.

At that time it was run by Circle Health, but the hospital returned to NHS control in April 2015.

But the Care Quality Commission (CQC) inspected the hospital back in May, and discovered that significant improvements have been made to the condition of service.

Hospital chairman Alan Burns believes that the verdict of the Care Quality Commission represents “a terrific vote of confidence in our staff”.

While the Accident and Emergency department still requires improvement, Burns stated that the rapid escalation in the number of patients, coupled with national staff shortages, had scuppered attempts at Hinchingbrooke to improve the situation.

But in assessing the quality of care at the hospital, the commission discovered that there is outstanding practice at the trust.

The CQC report particularly focused on its end-of-life care for patients at a local prison and the employment of an Admiral Nurse to support people with dementia.

Inspectors also reported that the quality of conduct from staff had impressed them, with a caring and compassionate attitude particularly prevalent.

Management of the hospital also received praise, despite the criticism of Accident and Emergency.

The A&E department “is as good as any around,” sccording to the aforementioned Burns.

And the Chief Executive suggested that the 50,000 patients it was forced to deal with over the last year is simply unrealistic and has led to difficulties.

Indeed, Burns went as far as praising those working in A&E at the hospital, assessing that they “have done remarkably well shifting the department from inadequate to needs to improvement”.

The hospital chairman commented that “[demand] has gone up 8% this year and we have two-and-a-half consultants on our books, compared to the six we should have. The problems here are problems in every A&E department in the country”.

CQC deputy chief inspector of hospitals Edward Baker stated that “the trust leadership knows what it must do now to ensure further positive change takes place.”

Recent statistics have indicated that very few organisations in the existing NHS have been able to acquire an outstanding rating from the Care Quality Commission.

Some experts have thus criticised the assessment process of inspecting organisations as being excessively stringent.


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