Jan Sobieraj: A lot has changed in 15 months since our last CQC inspection

This story is over

It’s now 15 months since the Care Quality Commission (CQC) last inspected our hospitals. They will be inspecting the Trust again this spring as part of a well-led assessment, but also making unannounced visits before then to see how we’ve improved patient care.

Our patients are central to everything we do. They drive all of our improvements and patient care is always in the hearts and minds of our staff. This inspection gives us an opportunity to shout about all of the good things going on in ULHT and the progress we’ve made, as well as our plans to continue to improve.

Since the last CQC visit, we have made many improvements and here are just a few:

  • We have more consultants, more middle grade doctors, more health professionals (including therapists) and more non-registered nurses working at the Trust than 12 months ago. We’ve also increased our nursing establishment.
  • The number of patients waiting over 12 weeks for a first outpatient appointment has more than halved.
  • Over 80% of our staff have had a flu vaccination this year – making us one of the top-performing trusts in the country.
  • Since July, the percentage of staff who are working on our Trust nurse bank has increased by 73%. This not only drives up quality as staff on the bank know our sites and the wards they are going to, but it also reduces our reliance on expensive agency cover.
  • We’ve invested £2.5m a month on improving the fire safety of our hospitals which includes over 400 new fire doors.
  • 5 new quality matrons have been appointed to lead our ward accreditation process which is a very rigorous way to track and improve ward standards. They’ll be supporting wards to drive up the quality of their care. I am pleased to report that thanks to a lot of hard work by staff, many wards are already ahead of their improvement targets which are enhancing the quality of care and patient experience.
  • We have also introduced the ‘golden hour’ each day where heads of nursing and matrons set aside the time to do structured checks of the wards to see how we are providing care to patients, to ensure that each area of the hospital is providing the same high quality standard of care.
  • We’ve received a record number of nominations for our ULHT Staff Awards this year – with nearly 800 nominations compared to 690 last year. This reflects that in spite of current pressures, our staff are fantastic at pulling together and going above and beyond in the best interests of our patients.

A lot of improvements have been made since the last inspection though we know there is still work to be done, but we are very proud of the hard work and progress so far. Inspections are always challenging, however, it’s also our chance to show the CQC inspectors what we often hear from many of our patients and that we have outstanding people and services at ULHT.