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CQC: Portsmouth trust which runs Gosport still ‘requires improvement’

The NHS trust which runs Gosport War Memorial has been found to ‘require improvement’ following its latest CQC inspection.

Portsmouth Hospitals NHS Trust – which runs St Mary’s, Queen Alexandra, Petersfield, and Gosport hospitals – said it “entirely accepts” the findings of the inspection and pledged to address the outstanding areas of concern.

CQC officials carried out a comprehensive inspection of all core services at Queen Alexandra— which is the only hospital serving the city of Portsmouth and its surrounding area, with 1,400 beds— and found that further improvements were still needed following the trust’s last inspection in February 2015, during which it had also been rated ‘requires improvement.’

Inspectors found that some emergency department staff “were not always providing patients with compassionate or respectful care,” nor were some behaving in a way consistent with the trust’s values.

In urgent and emergency care, patients and relatives told inspectors that there was little communication from staff and that they were not kept well informed about what was happening. Inspectors also found that some patients were waiting too long for their treatment— there were instances of “poor patient flow throughout the department,” meaning people were left waiting in corridors or ambulances outside the emergency department.

The report comes at a time where some services are being moved from Portsmouth Hospitals NHS Trust: spinal services, which were considered “unsustainable” by the trust in 2015, have been transferred to University Hospitals Southampton FT.

But while some areas had “stayed the same and others had deteriorated,” inspectors did identify improvements. For example, the trust’s new leadership team was tackling challenges with “compassion and energy.”

“There was strong leadership of the critical care unit, with senior staff looking for ways to drive the unit forward in delivering excellent patient care, while promoting a happy, passionate, inclusive, and open culture among the staff,” the CQC said. “There was a strong culture of safety with an effective and sophisticated patient computer information system that was used to manage and monitor patient care.”

Mark Cubbon, chief executive of Portsmouth trust, commented: “It is evident that good progress has been made but we recognise that there remains more work for us to do. We acknowledge that we need to go further in some areas to deliver the step change needed to deliver the consistently high-quality care that our patients expect and indeed deserve.

“It is now the task of our Board to drive our improvements at pace and empower and enable our staff to replicate this across all services.”

The CQC’s chief inspector of hospitals, Professor Ted Baker, noted that staff had hope for the future and there was an ongoing momentum for change. But he argued that further work is required to implement and sustain a cultural shift across the organisation.

Prof Baker said: “It is concerning to note that within both medical and urgent and emergency care staff were not always involving patients and those close to them in decisions about their care and treatment or treating them with compassion. 

“As a priority the trust must focus its efforts on those areas where we have identified the need for further improvement. We will continue to monitor the service closely and return in the future to check on the trust’s progress.”

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Image credit: Chris Ison/PA Archive


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