South Tyneside and Sunderland (STS) NHS Foundation Trust have welcomed a quality report published today by the CQC following a focused inspection of its infection, prevention and control (IPC) measures.
Inspectors found clear and effective IPC processes in place at the trust to safely manage Covid-19, with a focus on continual improvement and many areas of innovation.
During March, CQC inspectors visited Sunderland Royal Hospital, and the trust’s community Intermediate Care Assessment and Rehabilitation (ICAR) unit, and spoke with staff and patients.
The summary of findings also found areas of outstanding practice, which included research into air-purifying and ventilation of rooms for patients undergoing treatment for Ear, Nose and Throat (ENT) conditions. The trust has since invested in air-purifying equipment to further reduce the risk of transmission of Covid-19 in other parts of its hospitals, as well as ENT services.
Staff reported that there had been no issues with supply of PPE throughout the pandemic and that they felt respected, supported and valued by their managers and the trust board. The CQC praised the trust’s open culture where staff could raise concerns without fear and which promoted the delivery of high-quality patient care.
Dr Shaz Wahid, Medical Director and Director of IPC at STS NHS FT, said: “The safety of our patients and staff is always our absolute priority and I am encouraged that the CQC recognised the amount of work undertaken to enhance our already robust infection, prevention and control processes during the pandemic.
“Covid-19 has presented us with challenges we’ve never faced before and there will be much learning and many more opportunities for improvement across the whole NHS in the years ahead. What matters most is that our staff have felt fully supported, valued and listened to throughout the pandemic and they have remained entirely focused on the needs of our patients.
“This positive quality report from the CQC is testament to the dedication and hard work of our Infection, Prevention and Control Team, along with all colleagues at the trust who have selflessly provided outstanding care to keep patients safe throughout the challenges of Covid-19.”
The report also recommended some areas of improvement, including continuing with plans to provide strengthened support to community locations and providing further guidance for staff delivering rehabilitation care.
The trust was not rated following this inspection and remains rated ‘good’ overall with all previous ratings remaining in place.