Inspectors praise UCLH but identify areas for improvement 

15/01/2014 00:00 
A report released today by the NHS regulator recognises the ‘dedication of doctors and nurses’ at UCLH (University College London Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust) delivering services that are ‘safe, effective, caring, responsive to patients’ needs and well led’.

UCLH looked forward to the Care Quality Commission’s (CQC) inspection as an opportunity to improve services. The trust was chosen as a ‘low risk’ provider to help develop the CQC’s new inspection regime.

UCLH was therefore very pleased to see that CQC’s Chief Inspector of Hospitals, Professor Sir Mike Richards, said: “Our judgement is that this is an excellent hospital in many ways – but the failings we identified are preventing it from achieving excellence across the board. The trust has told us it is taking action – and we expect to return in due course to find that the problems have been fixed.”

The CQC said in its summary that: “We found that, generally, services were safe, effective, caring, responsive to patients’ needs and well led.” They found many examples of excellent or outstanding care and witnessed examples of kindness to patients. They encountered many staff who said that they were proud to work at UCLH and felt empowered to deliver high quality care to their patients.
UCLH is totally committed to improvement and indeed is already taking action on each of the points raised in the report. 

The report identifies four areas where UCLH needs to make improvements to comply with the highest standards. These are:

  • Our use of the World Health Organization (WHO) checklist in surgery
  • The environment in the accident and emergency department
  • Patient assessment and treatment records on the acute medical wards
  • The security of patient records on the acute medical wards.

The inspectors said an ‘overwhelming majority of people’ spoke about their ‘positive experiences of care’ and highlighted the ‘emphasis placed at all levels from the trust’s board and governors down to ward level on putting the needs of patients first’.

Sir Robert Naylor, UCLH chief executive, said: "We had already told the CQC about the space available to the A&E Department. It was built less than a decade ago to accommodate 65,000 attendances a year, whereas now it sees nearly double that number.

"Several years ago we recognised the increase in demand on the A&E service and embarked on a £12 million extension programme.  This building work has disrupted the smooth operation of the department and is due to be completed in 2016.  Prior to receiving the CQC report, the UCLH board decided in December to extend the department into an adjacent area which increases its size and opened this month.

“So far this quarter we are well ahead of the national target of treating more than 95 per cent of A&E patients within four hours.”

"The CQC inspectors themselves said the feedback from staff ‘unanimously stated that the A&E department was ‘good’ overall’. The inspectors added that ‘patient feedback of their experience of A&E was overwhelmingly positive’.”

Sir Robert added: “As a dynamic learning organisation committed to constant improvement we take very seriously the opportunities identified for learning in this report and will deal quickly and effectively with any areas where we have fallen below the highest standards.”

Feedback from UCLH’s stakeholders, including Camden Council and Monitor has been unanimously supportive. Caz Sayer, Chair of Camden Clinical Commissioning Group, said “This is a glowing report. CCGs will support and work with UCLH on all areas identified as challenges. We were aware of all issues identified in the report – which is a tribute to the openness and transparency of UCLH.”

Click here to read the report in full

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