Tameside Hospital Trust rated ‘Good’ in latest CQC report

Just three years after being placed into special measures, the Tameside Hospital NHS Foundation Trust has been rated as ‘Good’ by the Care Quality Commission after their latest inspection.

It marks a significant turnaround for the trust which was put into special measures after an investigation into mortality rates at Tameside Hospital. The last report into the trust was released in September 2015 when the hospital was taken out of special measures but still ‘Required improvement’.

The inspection took place in August with the CQC looking at all services provided by the trust. Inspectors saw a number of areas of outstanding practice including the programme for supporting pregnant women with alcohol consumption problems. Last year the hospital became the first in the country to screen mums-to-be for signs of birth defects caused by drinking alcohol.

The radiology department’s virtual post-mortem service and the hospital’s access to community services’ end-of-life care information were also praised.

Chief Executive Karen James

Chief Executive of the trust, Karen James, first joined in 2013. She welcomed the report and reserved special praise for hospital staff. “It is fantastic news and I’m really pleased for the staff,” she said. “They’ve worked so hard over the past few years to achieve good standards in terms of quality and safety. It is good news and it is good for the community as well because it’s important that they can have a hospital which provides good services and they can be assured of that.”

Addressing the turnaround that has taken place at Tameside Hospital over the past few years, Karen added: “Every service has been reviewed and we’ve looked at different ways of working to improve quality and safety. I think the culture of the organisation has changed. It is about engaging the staff in that process; they are key to the improvements. They know what they need to do to make things better.

“It’s also about engaging the community. I go out and about all the time, talking to patients about the care they’ve received. For me, it’s important to get a view from their perspective of what we can do better and what has been working well.”

However, the CQC highlighted three key areas that the trust must work to improve, including making sure there are enough nurses available to meet the needs of patients. The trust were also told that at least one nurse on duty on the children’s ward must be trained in Advanced Paediatric Life Support on each shift, and that fridges used to store medication must be kept at the right temperature.

Karen says there are already plans in place to address the CQC’s concerns. “We’ve been working on those for some time now and the report acknowledged that but said some of the work we’re doing is not quite embedded yet. Obviously there are still some challenges. Those areas we continue to work on but generally everybody is experiencing similar issues across the board.”

The report, released today, has pleased local politicians. “Steven Pleasant, Chief Executive of Tameside Council and the Accountable Officer for NHS Tameside & Glossop Clinical Commissioning Group added: “I am delighted that the people of Tameside and Glossop now have a local health provider to be proud of again. We now look forward to how we can improve upon this excellent platform and genuinely enhance the lives of local people through an integrated health and social care system.”

Denton and Reddish MP Andrew Gwynne

Denton and Reddish MP Andrew Gwynne added: “I’m truly delighted at the outcome of the Care Quality Commission report for Tameside Hospital which recognises all of the hard work and effort of staff at all levels throughout the hospital.

“We all know that this winter has been one of the hardest on record for our over-stretched NHS, but this report shows that in Tameside we should be proud of the passion and commitment of our nurses, doctors, non-clinical staff and leaders at the trust which gives me confidence going forward.

“I will keep campaigning for investment in our hospitals and in their staff to ensure we have the best possible outcomes for patients in Tameside as a whole.”

Kaliash Chand, a former Ashton GP and now the Chair of Healthwatch Tameside, said: “We think it’s really good that the CQC has recognised the hard work that the hospital staff, leaders and their partner organisations have put in. This continues a journey of improvement over recent years and we recognise that there is a real desire in the hospital to continue to make improvements.

“We know that the coming year will bring new challenges for everyone in the local health and care environment. We look forward to working with the hospital and other partners to ensure that people’s voices are heard and that quality and safety are given a high priority through these challenging times.”

The Chief Inspector of Hospitals, Sir Mike Richards acknowledged how far the hospital has come in three years. He said: “At our previous inspection in April 2015 we found improvements but were still concerned about the safety, effectiveness and responsiveness of some services, particularly in medical care.

“It is clear the trust has worked hard to address the issues we raised, and I am pleased to be able to change its rating from Requires Improvement to Good.

“This rating amendment reflects the changes the trust has made. This time we saw a trust with a much improved approach to safety, training, and mortality rates, and one that was addressing staff shortages through initiatives including partnership working, in a proactive and sustainable way.

Just three years on from being placed into special measures, Tameside Hospital has been rated as ‘Good’ by the Care Quality Commission.

“However, there is still some work to do to ensure that the trust can sustain these changes and CQC has also told the trust where it must make further improvements. Our inspectors will return to check on progress with those improvements at a later date.”

And Karen James has already got eyes on the next inspection. “We’re constantly looking at ways to improve services and that should always be the case,” she said. “We want to achieve Outstanding status next time round and I’m confident we can achieve that. It is a constant improvement journey and the staff are constantly identifying where we can make improvements. We intend to support them to achieve that objective.”

You can read the full CQC report into the Tameside Hospital NHS Foundation Trust at http://www.cqc.org.uk/location/RMP01.