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Nursing innovations helps specialist heart hospital gain 'outstanding' rating from CQC

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Liverpool Heart and Chest Hospital NHS Foundation Trust has become the first specialist hospital to be rated as ”outstanding” by the Care Quality Commission, making it one of only eight trusts in the country to achieve the top rating.

During its first inspection by the CQC, the Liverpool trust’s services were rated as “outstanding” for being responsive, well led and caring, and “good” for being safe and effective. Its community service was also rated as ”outstanding”.

“This is one of the best trusts in England and I commend them on their outstanding rating”

Mike Richards

The trust was singled out by inspectors for innovative services such as a nurse-led chest drain clinic, continuous glucose monitoring and a new role of “total care practitioner” to help patients regain their independence more quickly.

The nurse-led chest drain clinic enabled patients to be discharged home with a chest drain connected to a flutter bag, noted the regulator in its report.

A standardised discharge letter was developed for district nurses with all relevant information, which enabled chest-drain patients to be cared for at home without frequent trips to the hospital to aspirate fluid, therefore, hopefully making the end of life more comfortable and dignified for patients and families.

In addition, the trust had developed the “Liverpool Lounge Suit” that patients could wear during procedures, said the CQC. The suit replaced the traditional hospital gown and supported the patient dignity because it meant only the minimum of exposure was required to carry out the procedure.

Meanwhile, the trust had piloted the “total care practitioner” role to help patients to achieve their agreed goals through facilitation, intensive short-term support to help them regain their independence, and deliver therapy and nursing interventions.

CCQ chief inspector of hospitals Professor Sir Mike Richards described the organisation as “one of the best trusts in England”.

Sir Mike Richards

Sir Mike Richards

Sir Mike Richards

He said:There was a very clear vision and strategy for delivering the highest standards of patient care with a strong focus on quality and a positive patient experience.”

Trust chair Neil Large and chief executive Jane Tomkinson paid tribute to the organisation’s 1,500 staff and volunteers. They said: “The CQC inspection process is rigorous and rightly challenging, and this rating pays testament to the dedication and professionalism of the team.”

The trust provides specialist inpatient and community services in cardiothoracic surgery, cardiology, respiratory medicine including adult cystic fibrosis, and diagnostic imaging.

Of the 19 specialist hospital trusts in England, nine have now received a CQC rating. To date, two out of the nine were found to require improvement, while the remaining seven – 78% – were rated as good or outstanding. The other 10 have been visited and their inspection reports will be published by the end of March.

Based on the current ratings available, specialist acute trusts are outperforming general acute trusts. Of the 136 NHS non-specialist trusts rated by the CQC, 61% were found to “require improvement” and just under 30% were seen as “good” or “outstanding”, with the rest rated “inadequate”.

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Readers' comments (3)

  • Absolutely fantastic. What a privilege would be to work there. Keep up the good work guys.

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  • I've worked in LHCH, it's fabulous what they have achieved, but let's not forget that they exist in the Ivory Tower of Specialist Trusts. Not chasing ED targets, no mass medical outliers, winter pressures? What's that?

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  • Feeling proud of all the staff at LHCH. The care and compassion shown is outstanding. I am truly grateful for the chance for our team within thoracic surgery to have developed innovative services to enable the enhancement of patient and family care. Well done 😊

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