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Sheffield trust gets 'good' rating from regulator

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Sheffield Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust has achieved a “good” rating in all five domains in a Care Quality Commission report.

The £1bn-turnover south Yorkshire trust, which was visited by CQC inspectors in December, employs 16,000 staff and delivers community services, specialist care and district general hospital facilities.

“We found very positive examples of patient care”

Mike Richards

The trust’s Royal Hallamshire Hospital, Northern General Hospital, Charles Clifford Dental Hospital and the community services were rated as “good”. The Weston Park Hospital was rated as “requires improvement” overall, although caring was rated as outstanding at the hospital.

Inspectors said they found “effective leadership” across the organisation and that appropriate systems and procedures were in place to keep patients safe, including safeguarding and infection control.

Systems were also in place to ensure that patients received evidence-based care and feedback from patients and relatives was positive about the care they received.

For community inpatients, the CQC said feedback received from patients was consistently positive about the way nursing and therapy staff treated them. “Patients told us that staff go the extra mile,” said the CQC in their report.

In addition, they noted that Weston Park Hospital specialised cancer services provided a “patient-centred holistic approach” to care, where the whole multi-disciplinary team worked together to ensure the patient’s experience of the service was “the best that it could be”.

“All our staff and volunteers work so hard to do their best for patients”

Andrew Cash

At the same location, the teenage cancer unit was praised for a number of innovations, including a “couples retreat” for end of life patients and their partners.

However, inspectors identified some areas where the trust must improve, including ensuring emergency patients did not wait longer than the recommended standard for assessment and treatment and that a “clear strategy” for end of life care was implemented and monitored.

“The trust must continue to review staffing levels in some specialist areas, including Weston Park and the emergency department,” added the CQC.

CQC chief inspector of hospitals Professor Sir Mike Richards praised the trust for its ”well-established culture of continuous improvement” at the trust and that it had good systems for supporting small scale service improvements.

Sir Mike Richards

Sir Mike Richards

Sir Mike Richards

He said: “We found very positive examples of patient care. On the intensive care units, an electronic patient information system was in use, which ensured effective care was delivered and it was fully integrated and provided real-time information across teams and services.

“Within midwifery, the one-to-one team and specialist midwife clinics gave greater assurance that high risk women continued to have a choice on the care they received in pregnancy,” he said.

He added: “They are also doing some outstanding work through their community dental service, providing exceptional support to residential care homes through collaboration with local partners.”

Trust chief executive Sir Andrew Cash said: “All our staff and volunteers work so hard to do their best for patients and so I am pleased that this has been reflected in the ‘good’ rating. 

Sir Andrew highlighted that work was underway to address the CQC’s criticisms relating to end of life care and staffing levels.

Royal Hallamshire Hospital

Royal Hallamshire Hospital

Royal Hallamshire Hospital

“The report does highlight some areas where we can improve and indeed many of these are already being actioned. For example we are in the process of planning a major refurbishment of Weston Park Hospital to improve the facilities.

“We are also doing a lot of work to enhance how we care for people at the end of their life including a new guide for our staff on how to communicate well and appropriately with patients and with their relatives at the end of their life,” he said.

“Our staffing is continually monitored to ensure appropriate levels are maintained and despite national shortages facing all hospital trusts, in the last 12 months we have been successful in attracting more than 360 new nurses into the trust and a number of additional staff for the emergency department and other areas is also planned,” added Sir Andrew.

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