HCT rated Good by the Care Quality Commission
Issued by Hertfordshire Community NHS Trust
Services at Hertfordshire Community NHS Trust (HCT) have once again been rated as Good by the Care Quality Commission (CQC), the organisation which monitors, inspects and regulates health and social care services in England. The rating follows a planned inspection of HCT services in September 2018. A copy of the full report is available on the CQC website.
The CQC rates services under five domains, determining whether services are safe, effective, caring, responsive and well led. Following its inspection in September 2018, the CQC rated HCT’s services as Good for being effective, caring, responsive and well led, but gave a rating of Requires improvement for safety.
In particular, the CQC said that:
- Our staff continually care for patients with compassion and that feedback from patients and their loved ones confirms that staff treat them well and with kindness
- We involve patients closely in their care, particularly around managing pain levels and providing emotional support to minimise a patient’s distress
- We effectively plan and deliver our services so that they meet the needs of local people
- We have a positive working culture which supports and values our staff, and we learn effectively when things go well and when they go less well
Inspectors also praised some of HCT’s specific innovations, including our initiative for healthcare assistants in our community nursing teams to administer insulin for stable diabetic patients with the support and management of registered nursing staff. This helps to ensure that registered nurses have more time to focus on patients with more complex needs.
Clare Hawkins, Chief Executive at HCT, said of the inspection result: “This is a great achievement and a real testament to the hard work and dedication of our teams across Hertfordshire. Since our previous inspection in 2016, we have retained our overall rating of Good whilst at the same time introducing a number of innovations and new services. These include: a new public health nursing service for the County (health visiting and school nursing) as part of the new Hertfordshire Family Centre Service; integrated nutrition/dietetics and diabetes services (delivered with local NHS and voluntary sector organisations) which help provide patients with more seamless care; and a unique electronic consent form for school-aged flu vaccinations which has been nationally recognised. I am also very pleased that the improvements we have made in community end of life care since our 2016 inspection have been recognised, with an overall rating of Good for this service.”
Specific issues raised by the CQC which require improvement include:
- Ensuring all patients on our inpatient units receive their medicines on time
- Ensuring that patient records always include mental capacity assessments and that “do not resuscitate” agreements are recorded in line with our policies
- Ensuring that testing and maintenance of medical equipment is always carried out and recorded in line with our policies
Clare said: “We recognise the areas where the CQC have told us that we need to make improvements and we are addressing the issues they raised with us, in particular making sure that we always manage medication and equipment correctly. Following the inspection, we took immediate actions to ensure that patient records are accurate, resuscitation equipment is always in place and that all equipment is regularly monitored, tested and maintained.
“Across our inpatient units, we scored less well overall than in the previous inspection. We have already begun a comprehensive improvement programme with a particular focus on medicines management, patient records and the planning of care for patients at the end of life. We know there is more to do in this service and we have a robust action plan in place to ensure we make all these improvements as quickly as possible.”
Declan O’Farrell, Chair of HCT, added: “Our teams work incredibly hard to care for our patients and service users and their families and carers, whether in someone’s home, our outpatient clinics, our inpatient units or in local schools, health centres, GP practices or family centres. I am very proud of them and of our inspection result. I also want to thank our many partners across the health, social care and voluntary sector in Hertfordshire who work with us every day to provide care and services to our communities.”