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Bristol trust climbs two rankings in two years to be rated 'outstanding' by CQC

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A trust in the South West has become the first acute provider in the country to jump from a rating of “requires improvement” to one of “outstanding” across just two inspections by regulators.

University Hospitals Bristol NHS Foundation Trust has been rated overall as “outstanding” by the Care Quality Commission, after being rated “requires improvement” in December 2014.

“What has been astonishing is how the staff have responded”

Robert Woolley

The CQC said in a statement today: “It is the first hospital trust in England to have improved from ’requires improvement’ to ‘outstanding’ between two inspections.”

Meanwhile, the trust was also rated as “good” for being safe and caring, “requires improvement” for responsiveness, and “outstanding” for being well led and effective, following its latest inspections in November and December.

Among the areas identified as outstanding practice, the CQC said in times of crowding in accident and emergency the trust could call up “pre-identified” nurses from their wards to work in the emergency department, which “enabled nurses to be released to safely manage patients queuing in the corridor”.

In addition, the CQC highlighted that new starters in the emergency department received a comprehensive, structured induction and orientation programme, overseen by a clinical nurse educator and practice development nurse. 

It provided new staff with an exceptionally good understanding of their role in the department and ensured they were able to perform their role safely and effectively, said the regulator in its latest report on the trust, which published today.

“Everyone who has played a part in this should be very proud of this outcome”

Mike Richards

Professor Sir Mike Richards, the chief inspector of hospitals, said: “I am delighted that University Hospitals Bristol FT has taken to heart our original inspection report and built on it – not just in those areas where improvements were required, but in their stronger areas too.

“This determination to develop a culture of continuous improvement has improved services for patients – and ensured that the trust has moved upwards from a rating of requires improvement to outstanding,” he said. “It is a tremendous achievement.

“The hard work has paid off in making a real difference to the lives of people using the services, in the immediate Bristol area and in the wider South West in general. Everyone who has played a part in this should be very proud of this outcome,” he added.

Trust chief executive Robert Woolley said: “We paid very close attention to what the CQC had told us in 2014 and they have recognised that we not only made improvements in the areas they identified but even in the areas that they’d seen as strengths.”

“What we did was to decide we needed to do more to listen to staff to improve their experience to listen to their concerns and listen to their suggestions for improvement and what has been astonishing is how the staff have responded,” he said.

He added: “All of the innovations that Mike Richards has referred to in the report, these are things that the staff themselves have brought forward.”

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