Hospital trust launches ‘game-changing’ approach to bring improvements

A HEALTH trust given a sub-par rating by a national watchdog has announced a “game-changing” approach after deeming its previous strategy not ambitious enough.

Rotherham NHS Foundation Trust was revisited by the Care Quality Commission in March last year following a previous inspection in June 2021 when it was rated as requiring improvement.

The CQC found there was “still work to be done” on improving the  Urgent & Emergency Care Centre at Rotherham Hospital.

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Other issues identified included not all staff completing training, and only two-thirds of employees (66 per cent) complying with hand hygiene audits.

The visit did not generate a new rating, leaving the hospital as requiring improvement overall and for being safe, effective and well-led, and good for being caring and responsive.

Chief nurse Helen Dobson told a board meeting the trust’s “journey to good” strategy was “not ambitious enough”.

She added: “A ‘journey towards outstanding’ is what we should be aiming for, ultimately”.

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The meeting heard progress had already been made with further improvements expected by the end of the financial year, leading to the trust calling for the CQC to reinspect the hospital.

Chief operating officer Sally Kilgariff said: “What we are starting to see now is a change of culture.

“The language is shifting, the way they (staff) talk about services in terms of wanting to see improvements.

“It’s not about responding to the CQC and that’s coming through strongly in performance reviews right across all staff.”

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Ms Dobson said the hospital’s CQC Delivery Group’s name had changed to the Quality Delivery Group as part of a “move away from a retrospective approach, to one of continuous quality improvement”.

She said monthly meetings between the trust and the CQC “remained positive” and the approach had also been recommended by the commission for other organisations to adopt.

“We’ve told the CQC we would welcome them coming in to re-inspect,” Mrs Dobson told the meeting.

“Because we’re not seen as high risk for them, we’re not a priority, but we want them to come in and see these improvements.”

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Non-executive director Heather Craven called the trust’s shift a “landmark”, saying: “There’s been a large move forward here”.

Fellow board member Kamran Malik added: “We’ve been in a reactive space and it’s not a great space to be in.

“To be proactive is a game-changer.”