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Croydon first hospital to be inspected under new CQC system

The new regime of hospital inspections begins in England today.

The bigger, more clinically-focused inspection teams, led by Professor Sir Mike Richards (pictured), will include a senior NHS clinician or executive, professional and clinical staff, experts by experience, patients, carers, and other experts.

They are carrying out both announced and unannounced inspections, and focus on hospitals as whole systems rather than just focusing on one area at a time, such as nutrition or infection prevention.

The departments/wards that the inspection teams will always look at are: accident and emergency; maternity; paediatrics; acute medical and surgical pathways; care for the frail elderly; end of life care; and outpatients (including discharge arrangements and joint work with other sectors).

The first place in the country to be inspected will be Croydon University Hospital’s A&E unit, labelled “high risk”. The CQC begins its five-day inspection today, with Sir Mike due to be visiting the department tomorrow (Wednesday).

Sir Mike said: “These inspections are designed to provide people with a clear picture of the quality of the services in their local hospital, exposing poor or mediocre care as well as highlighting areas of good and excellent care.

“Of course we will be talking to doctors and nurses, hospital managers and patients in the hospital. But it is vital that we also hear the views of the people who have had care at Croydon University Hospital, or anyone who wants to share information with us. This will help us plan our inspection, and so help us focus on the things that really matter to people who depend on this service.”

The CQC has published the methodology behind its new inspections.

The other trusts in the first wave of inspections are:

High risk rating

Barking, Havering and Redbridge University Hospitals NHS Trust

Barts Health NHS Trust

South London Healthcare NHS Trust

Nottingham University Hospitals NHS Trust

The Royal Bournemouth and Christchurch Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust

Low risk rating

Airedale NHS Foundation Trust

Frimley Park Hospital NHS Foundation Trust

Harrogate and District NHS Foundation Trust

Salford Royal NHS Foundation Trust

Taunton and Somerset NHS Foundation Trust

University College London Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust

Variety of risk points

Dartford and Gravesham NHS Trust

Heart of England NHS Foundation Trust

Royal Liverpool and Broadgreen University Hospitals NHS Trust

Royal Surrey County Hospital NHS Foundation Trust

Royal United Hospital Bath NHS Trust

The Royal Wolverhampton NHS Trust

The CQC says: “Where we find failings, we will work with Monitor and the NHS Trust Development Authority to produce a clear programme to help the trust make improvements, deal with failure, and hold people to account.”

Mike Farrar, NHS Confederation chief executive, said: “There is every chance that the first inspections carried out by the Care Quality Commission's new inspection panels will be under as much scrutiny themselves as they apply to the organisations they visit.

“In developing its new programme, the CQC consulted widely with stakeholders. We are keen to see this openness continue as the CQC refines how it inspects and assesses NHS organisations. Between them, our members deliver every aspect of health care. It is crucial that the inspection process reflects that, and while there are some non-negotiable fundamentals which every organisation must meet, intelligent inspection will fully recognise the essential variations between organisations and sectors.

“Additionally, we must not forget that external inspection and expertise is hugely valuable and welcomed by the NHS, but the responsibility to provide patients with the highest standards rests first and foremost with hospitals staff and leaders.”

He added: “It is crucial that the new inspection programme is effective without being overly burdensome. We want all those involved in the inspection programme to use the first tranche of inspections to iron out any creases in processes and design, and get rid of any duplication that diverts valuable staff time and resources away from care. It would be ludicrous if, in inspecting how and how well NHS organisations deliver quality health care, we prevent them actually doing it.”

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(Image of Professor Sir Mike Richards: John Stillwell / PA Wire / Press Association Images)


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