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Oxford hospitals ‘good’ but John Radcliffe must improve – CQC

The Care Quality Commission (CQC) has rated the overall quality of services provided by Oxford University Hospitals NHS Trust as ‘good’, but the John Radcliffe Hospital still requires improvement.

In February of this year a team of 51 inspectors visited the trust's four hospital sites–

Churchill Hospital, the Nuffield Orthopaedic Centre, the Horton General Hospital in Banbury and the John Radcliffe Hospital – for two days and unannounced spot-checks on 2 and 3 March 2014.

Following the inspections, it was found that many of the services at the John Radcliffe Hospital were delivered to a ‘good’ standard, but the inspectors found that both Accident & Emergency (A&E) and Surgery needed to improve.  

Inspectors stated that while services were effective, shortages of staff within the maternity department and on surgical wards and in operating theatres meant that staff were not able to provide the best care at all times. Bed occupancy within the hospital was so high that it was having an impact on the quality of care, with A&E failing to meet national targets to admit, transfer or discharge patients within four hours. The team was also told that operations were regularly cancelled due to lack of theatre capacity, shortage of staff or inefficient planning.  

However, at all four hospitals, the inspectors observed patients being treated with dignity, respect and compassion by all staff. Areas of good practice included:

  • The trust internal peer review process, in which over 100 clinical areas had been reviewed in a three month period
  • Staff worked well between teams. The value of an effective multidisciplinary approach in improving outcomes for patients was understood and encouraged

The CQC has also identified six areas where the trust must improve, including: 

  • The trust must plan and deliver care safely and effectively to people requiringemergency, surgical and outpatient care
  • There must be enough qualified, skilled and experienced staff to safely meet people’s needs at all times
  • The trust must plan and deliver emergency care to people in a way that safeguards people's privacy and dignity
  • Staff must receive suitable induction in each area that they work
  • The trust must ensure that newly-qualified midwives are appropriately supported
  • Patient records must accurately reflect the care and treatment for each patient in line with good practice

Professor Sir Mike Richards, chief inspector of hospitals, said: “Oxford University Hospitals NHS Trust is one of the largest acute teaching trusts in the country.  While we have found that all four hospitals provide safe and effective services, we know that the trust has long-held problems in recruiting and retaining nurses and healthcare assistants. 

“There are high vacancy rates in the surgical wards and theatres, leading to the cancellation of operations and long waiting times in places. At the same time, the trust is running at high capacity, at levels which can start to affect the quality of care and the orderly running of the hospital.”

Overall, though, of the 115 areas inspected at the trust 104 were judged as good and only 11 as requiring improvement. 

Sir Jonathan Michael, chief executive of Oxford University Hospitals NHS Trust, said: “We are extremely pleased to receive a positive report from the CQC. This detailed inspection report offers a clear endorsement of  the hard work our 11,000 staff put in on a daily basis to make sure we provide compassionate and excellent care for our patients, the kind of care we would want for our friends and families.

“However, there is no room for complacency and I would like to affirm that any of the areas highlighted in the report for improvement will be acted on swiftly. We were aware of the areas listed for improvement through our own internal review processes and many have either been addressed or have action plans in place for improvement.”

Tell us what you think – have your say below or email


Phillip G. A. MCLEAN   29/03/2017 at 17:07

How many years do I have to wait for an appointment to come in for surgery, I have already been waiting for 5 years, How many more. It is for a stoma opperation, to bypass my bladder.

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