A hospital that was condemned for being one of the very worst in the country has been removed from special measures by the Care Quality Commission.
Professor Sir Mike Richards, the Chief Inspector of Hospitals, has recommended that the Medway Foundation Trust can be removed from this unenviable situation following substantial improvements.
NHS Improvement confirmed that the trust has been taken out of special measures in recognition of the “major improvement in the services it offers patients”.
Nonetheless, the latest Care Quality Commission report still indicates that the trust requires improvement if it is to deliver the desired level of care.
The trust was placed in special measures back in July 2013, with Sir Bruce Keogh’s review of hospitals discovering that the organisation suffered from a mortality rate that was above average for the nation.
Richards commented on the reasons that the trust had been placed in special measures, and outlined why the Care Quality Commission believes that it can now work more independently.
“Two years ago we rated the trust as inadequate overall because of concerns relating to patient safety, the organisational culture and governance throughout the trust. The leadership team is now fully established and there is a strong sense of forward momentum. The strong leadership and clear communication are leading to a workforce who are now much better engaged and whose morale is now much higher.”
The trust was rated as good for being caring, effective and well led.
Medical care services, maternity and gynaecology and services for children and young people were all rated as good, while maternity and gynaecology were rated as outstanding for caring.
Urgent and emergency services, surgery, critical care, end of life care and outpatients and diagnostic imaging all require improvement, according to the Care Quality Commission report.
Effective systems had been put in place to assess and respond to signs of deteriorating health, while a new frailty pathway enabling staff to treat patients speedily was praised by the commission.
Meanwhile, concerns were raised about the high levels of agency staff utilised in some areas, with inappropriate use of facilities and premises common in surgery due to the lack of available banks.
Chief executive Lesley Dwyer was appointed to the position in March 2015, and has played a major role in significant improvements at the trust.
Interim chair of the trust, Peter Carter, reflected on the qualities she has brought to the role, and her effectiveness in the job.
“Lesley came in and gave direction, confidence and clarity. She grasped the nettle and dealt with difficult issues. She has only been here for two years but she is the longest serving chief executive in the last seven years.”
Carter also took time to praise staffing at the trust.
“We picked up some excellent staff – a director of nursing and a medical director who had both spent their careers in London teaching hospitals. They came to Medway and saw, worked, liked and applied for the job. It is a tangible demonstration of what a great learning environment Medway is.”