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CQC rates Dorset Healthcare University FT ‘Outstanding’

Dorset Healthcare University NHS Foundation Trust has been rated as ‘Outstanding’ by the Care Quality Commission (CQC), with staff being praised for their work by inspectors.

A team from CQC visited the trust in April 2019 to check the quality of four mental health core services and two community services.

These were:

  • Acute wards for adults of working age and psychiatric intensive care units
  • Long stay rehabilitation mental health wards for working age adults,
  • Wards for older people with mental health problems
  • Mental health crisis services and health-based places of safety
  • Community health services for adults
  • Community urgent care services

The CQC returned in June 2019 to look at management and leadership, to determine whether the trust was well-led.

Following the inspections, Dorset Healthcare University trust has now earned an ‘Outstanding’ overall rating for the quality of its services. For being caring and well-led, it also scored this mark, while earning a ‘Good’ rating for being safe, effective and responsive.


Deputy chief inspector of hospitals at the CQC, Dr Paul Lelliott – who also serves as the lead for mental health – said: “In June 2015, when we first inspected Dorset Healthcare University NHS Foundation Trust, using our new approach, we rated the trust as Requires Improvement.  Since then, the trust has worked steadily to improve the quality of its services.

“Their determination to develop a culture of continuous improvement has significantly improved the care they provide for their patients.  This is reflected in the overall rating having moved to Outstanding.

“Staff spoke positively about the patient journey and the striving for continual improvement with all staff working effectively as a team, in a coordinated way and in partnership with patients to ensure safe, high quality care.

READ MORE: Kent Community Health Trust rated 'Outstanding' by CQC

READ MORE: Sheffield Children’s praised for kindness and compassion by CQC

“I am delighted at this achievement which is a credit to all of the trust’s staff. Their hard work is making a real difference to the lives of people using the services.”

Inspectors found the trust board were providing inspirational leadership. They demonstrated that they were progressive, cohesive and innovative with a clear purpose and showed a mature approach to challenges and to working effectively with other health and social care partners.

The inspection also showed the trust had successfully addressed concerns raised during a 2017 inspection around the lack of safeguarding training and the high level of physical restraint. In the April 2019 inspection of services, staff were found to now be assessing and managing risks to patients and themselves well.

Staff followed best practice in anticipating, de-escalating and managing challenging behaviour.


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