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Cornish social enterprise rated ‘good' for community services

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The first not-for-profit provider of NHS services to be examined under the Care Quality Commission’s new inspection regime has been rated “good”.

Peninsula Community Health, which provides services across Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly, was praised for its performance, particularly in light of the difficult financial situation it faced when it launched in 2011.

“We found a vibrant culture and a positive can-do attitude”

Mike Richards

Peninsula Community Health was created in 2011 as a community interest company – or CIC – after services were spun out of the NHS under the Transforming Community Services initiative. However, it inherited debts from its former primary care trust.

The CQC team assessed the organisation’s community hospital wards, minor injuries units and outpatient clinics, and accompanied district nursing teams on visits to patients’ homes.

Inspectors found good safe care was provided across community inpatient, adult, urgent care, and children and young people’s services.

Overall, services were found to be effective, while the use of technology to enable patients to monitor their conditions was highlighted for its positive impact on allowing them to remain at home.

Children’s bowel and bladder services were singled out for praise for the “good” systems in place for multidisciplinary working between staff and other agencies.

“We know there are no grounds for complacency – continuous improvement and development are our targets”

Steve Jenkins

However, the CIC’s end of life care services were rated “requires improvement” in relation to safety. Inspectors said that improvements were also needed in the way that minor injury units are managed.

In addition, the CQC noted that despite its financial challenges and initial strong opposition to its creation from staff and the public, the CIC’s managers were highly visible and trusted by care staff. Leaders were praised for managing the risks brought by uncertainty around the organisation’s future services.

Its present community services contract with Kernow Clinical Commissioning Group is due to end on March 2016. Discussions are currently underway on whether to renew the contract.

CQC chief inspector of hospitals Sir Mike Richards said: “I recognise that as a not-for-profit company operating at the heart of the NHS, Peninsula Community Health has faced particular challenges since it was set up four years ago.

“Despite all of this, we found a vibrant culture and a positive can-do attitude that existed at all levels and was acknowledged by its partners,” he said. 

“We did find some areas for improvement, but given the quality and safety of services that are being delivered, Peninsula Community Health fully deserves its overall rating of ‘good’.”

The CIC’s chief executive Steve Jenkin said: “We are delighted that through the CQC report we have been able to demonstrate the value of the NHS community health services that are provided for Cornwall by our 2,104 staff, across our 16 registered sites, including 14 hospitals, through our community teams.

He added: “We know there are no grounds for complacency – continuous improvement and development are our targets.”

  • Full reports including ratings for all of the CIC’s core services are available on the CQC’s website.

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