An NHS trust that was among the first cohort placed in special measures has had both its main hospital sites rated as “good” by the Care Quality Commission.
The rating follows a partial inspection by the CQC in October at Royal Blackburn and Burnley General hospitals, which are run by East Lancashire Hospitals NHS Trust.
“It is clear that East Lancashire Hospitals NHS Trust continues to make good progress”
It means the trust’s overall rating of “requires improvement” is likely to be reassessed by regulators in the coming weeks.
The trust was one of the first 11 providers originally placed in special measures in 2013 following a major review by Sir Bruce Keogh. It exited the support scheme for struggling trusts in May 2014.
If East Lancashire is upgraded to “good” overall, it will be the third of special measures trust to progressed to the higher rating.
Following the latest inspection, the CQC team’s report concluded that urgent and emergency services, surgery and end of life care to be good at both the trust’s main hospitals.
“This is a reflection of the hard work that our committed and dedicated staff”
It noted that, over the past 12 months, the emergency department and urgent care centre at the Royal Blackburn had introduced a number of quality innovations that had improved patient experience patient safety and patient outcomes.
They included the introduction of a mental health triage tool and observation policy, rapid assessment review, introduction of a sepsis nurse lead, creation of a dementia-friendly environment and review and development of the paediatric emergency department.
At Burnley General Hospital, a “harm free care” strategy had been introduced, which had improved the way incidents were dealt with and learned from. The strategy included completing rapid reviews of serious incidents, referral to a panel for discussion and sharing outcomes in senior meetings.
Lancs hospitals praised for progress by CQC
However, the CQQ noted there were still some areas where the trust must improve. The trust must ensure “safe and accurate” medicines administration and documentation, particularly in terms of the recording of any controlled drugs that patients bring into the acute medical unit.
Professor Sir Mike Richards, CQC chief inspector of hospitals, said: “It is clear that East Lancashire Hospitals NHS Trust continues to make good progress.
“Nowhere is this seen more clearly than in the surgical services that has improved in terms of the well-led domain from ‘requires improvement’ to ‘outstanding’,” said Sir Mike.
“The vision and values of the trust were clearly embedded across the surgical division,” he said. “Staff were energetic and well- motivated.
“Our inspection also identifies a number of other areas where the trust has adopted good practice, such as the intensive home care team who provide support to the emergency department and facilitate early discharges of patients from hospital,” he said.
He added: “While the trust is still rated overall, as requires improvement, they are aware there is still more work to be done and I know they will want to build on the good progress they have made.”
Trust chief executive Kevin McGee said he was delighted with the new ratings, and paid tribute to staff.
“This is a reflection of the hard work that our committed and dedicated staff have been carrying out ever since the trust was put into special measures in 2013,” he said.
“There is so much to be proud of. Our next goal is to improve even further, ensuring those areas still requiring improvement are tackled, and work towards receiving an ‘outstanding’ rating in the future. Thank you to all our staff, patients and stakeholders for working with us on this journey,” he added.