Inspection and Regulation

11.01.17

Royal Brompton and Harefield specialist trust rated ‘requires improvement’

The CQC has rated the specialist trust Royal Brompton and Harefield NHS FT as ‘requires improvement’ overall following an inspection in June of last year.

Royal Brompton and Harefield NHS FT, which delivers care across two sites in the Royal Brompton Hospital and Harefield Hospital, oversees the largest specialist heart and lung unit in the UK and also Europe’s largest centre for the treatment and management of cystic fibrosis. 

The CQC found that while the trust was good for being effective, caring and well-led, offering some of the best outcomes for heart and lung treatment in the country, it requires improvement for being safe and responsive, particularly in its completion and monitoring of data.

The chief inspector of hospitals, Professor Sir Mike Richards, said: “We found patients received compassionate care by staff who spoke about their trust with passion and pride. There are many people who owe their lives to the dedication and expertise of their staff.

“However there are areas for improvement. I note that critical care services have not in the past submitted data for national audit – which means that it has been difficult to compare the trust’s quality of care with other hospitals.

“I am concerned that there was poor completion of the World Health Organisation Safer Surgery checklist at both hospitals, despite discussions among the staff about patient safety risks. The trust must also take greater care to ensure that clinical staff are monitoring patients whose condition may deteriorate, using the standard National Early Warning Score (NEWS) charts.”

During the inspection of the two hospitals CQC inspectors found that teams of all clinical discipline worked well together with wards having access to a range of health professionals such as speech and language therapists, dietitians, physiotherapists and various types of nurses.

Inspectors particularly praised the trust’s ventricular assist device team which cares for patients undergoing surgery for an artificial heart – the only service in the UK able to offer this treatment independently – and its continuous research and compassionate care programmes.

However, the CQC advised that the trust must make improvement in its data management such as completing NEWS charts and ensuring that patient medical records are locked away, along with observing rigorous hand hygiene practices and embedding the WHO Safer Surgery checklist.

Royal Brompton and Harefield currently delivers in the region of 38.619 inpatient admissions and 178,495 outpatient attendances, employing around 3,298 staff.

Last year, NHS England announced plans to transfer Royal Brompton & Harefield NHS FT’s child heart disease units to neighbouring hospitals. The specialist heart and lung hospital is one of three across the country earmarked to lose their congenital heart surgery.

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