Inspection and Regulation

27.01.17

Advances made at Leicester trust but it still ‘requires improvement’

University Hospitals of Leicester NHS FT has been told by the CQC that it still ‘requires improvement’ after not changing rating in its most recent inspection.

The CQC revisited the trust for a focused inspection during June and July 2016 following a previous inspection in January 2014 when the trust was first rated as requires improvement.

On this occasion the trust, which runs three hospitals in Leicester, was found to be ‘good’ at caring and ‘requires improvement’ in being safe, effective, responsive and well-led, with all three hospitals receiving the same rating.

“Although the overall rating we gave the trust in this inspection was the same as they were awarded in their 2014 comprehensive inspection, we did find improvements had been made,” said the CQC’s chief inspector of hospitals Professor Sir Mike Richards.

“These were particularly evident in staff engagement and confidence in the leadership team.”

Overall, inspectors found that the trust and its hospitals “were in better position now than a few years ago”, citing a positive culture change under the trust’s new leadership with a well-established governance progress.

However, the CQC said that the trust’s A&E department was causing “significant problems” for the entirety of the trust with it struggling to provide a consistent standard of care due to a “constant increase in A&E attendances”.

The trust’s A&E department appears to still be an issue for the trust, as the hospital was recently forced to make patients wait in ambulances before they could enter A&E during a difficult winter for the NHS.

Inspectors also found problems with outpatient capacity not meeting demand, with appointments not starting on time or being cancelled, and with the trust’s IT infrastructure.

Despite these issues, inspectors found several elements out of outstanding care such as a 24-hour phone service for the trust’s oncology and chemotherapy departments.

John Adler, University Hospitals of Leicester’s chief executive, said that the trust had told the CQC that staff were its biggest strength and this has been “echoed” in the CQC’s feedback, although the trust still has work to do.

“We were … honest with the CQC about the challenges that we face,” Adler said. “We told them that we are steadily improving quality whilst dealing with large increases in demand.  That we were working better with our partners to tackle longstanding strategic issues such as emergency care, and that along the way we were building a more empowered culture.”

The trust must now outline its improvement plans to the CQC by 16 February and will be subject to further CQC inspections in order to ensure that the necessary improvements are made.

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