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CQC singles out ‘outstanding’ nursing practice at North London trust

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Nurses and “dynamic nursing leaders” at the Royal Free London NHS Foundation Trust have won praise from inspectors who rated the organisation “good” overall.

All three of its hospitals – Barnet and Chase Farm, which joined the trust in 2014, plus the Royal Free itself – were rated “good” by the Care Quality Commission after inspections in February.

“We saw dynamic nursing leaders who supported staff”

Edward Baker

Examples of outstanding services highlighted by the CQC team included the nurse-led urgent care centre (UCC) at Chase Farm in Enfield.

“The UCC at Chase Farm Hospital was a good example of a nurse-led multi-disciplinary team providing excellent outcomes for patients,” said the CQC. “Patients were seen promptly and obtained good clinical outcomes.”

The team’s “close working relationship” with the paediatric assessment unit “significantly enhanced the service provided to children and young people”, their latest report on the trust added.

Inspectors also praised efforts to meet the needs of people with dementia care and an ambition to train up all nurses at the trust to be “dementia specialists”.

Royal Free Hospital NHS Foundation Trust

Regulator praises ‘outstanding’ nursing practice

Source: Christine Matthews

Chase Farm Hospital, Enfield

In particular, Larch Ward at the Barnet site was identified as an “outstanding clinical environment for the care of dementia patients”.

Inspectors from the regulator highlighted the key role of inspiring nursing leaders at the trust.

“We observed dynamic nursing leaders who supported clinical environments and were essential in the development and achievement of best practice models, particularly across theatres and surgery,” said their report.

Among examples of innovative work was a “foundations in emergency nursing course” developed by emergency and urgent care departments across the three acute sites, which was accredited at the University of Middlesex.

“I am proud the report highlights many areas of practice that are outstanding”

David Sloman

While inspectors rated the trust “good” for being effective, caring, responsive and well-led, they found the organisation “requires improvement” when it came to safety.

Issues it must address include ensuring nurse staffing levels on the children’s ward at the Royal Free were in line with acuity and recommended standards, said the CQC.

The trust was told to reduce the number of outpatients appointments it cancelled, having called off 35% in the last year – with many cancellations due to staff being on annual leave.

Managers must also tackle delays in cancer treatment, after a deterioration in performance on the 62-day target for receiving treatment after an urgent GP referral, noted the CQC.

Professor Ted Baker, CQC deputy chief inspector of hospitals, said: “The trust and its staff should be proud of the fact that all three hospital sites in London were rated ‘good’ by CQC inspectors. This is a considerable achievement.

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Edward Baker

“We saw dynamic nursing leaders who supported staff in the development and achievement of best practice models – although there is more to do to ensure consistency across all sites,” he said.

“We saw several areas of outstanding practice including Larch Ward at the Barnet site, which is an outstanding clinical environment for the care of dementia patients,” he said. “The neonatal unit at Barnet hospital was very well equipped and offered outstanding levels of compassionate care delivered by all grades of staff.”

But he added: “While we found examples of safe care in many of the services we inspected, there is room for improvement in urgent and emergency services and medical care at the Royal Free Hospital.”

Trust chief executive David Sloman said the report was a “significant expression of confidence in our progress as a trust”, and that the organisation would seek to build on it.

Royal Free Hospital NHS Foundation Trust

Regulator praises ‘outstanding’ nursing practice

David Sloman

“We are delighted to receive a rating of ‘good’ across all our hospitals and I am proud the report highlights many areas of practice that are outstanding,” he said.

“This is a fantastic achievement given that Barnet and Chase Farm hospitals only joined us in 2014,” he said. “Staff should be incredibly proud of how well this reflects on their professionalism, and the care and compassion they demonstrate every day.”

The organisation is one of the largest acute trusts in England and sees around 1.6 million patients a year.

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