Regular readers of the blog will remember I have previously shared the initial feedback I received from colleagues at the Care Quality Commission (CQC) following an unannounced visit by their inspection team to Blackpool Victoria Hospital in January. You can read it here if you missed it.
The CQC has now published a formal report detailing its findings from the visit when they looked at urgent care, emergency care, medical care including the acute medical unit, wards 10 and 12 and the stroke unit to see if services were safe, effective, responsive and well-led.
The visit was unannounced and the team were able to observe first-hand and without any preparation work in some key areas and how colleagues were delivering services at an extremely busy time, right in the eye of the second wave of the pandemic.
The services inspected were incredibly pressured, working in some of the most challenging circumstances we have ever experienced and I would like to thank everyone on duty who was able to support the CQC on top of everything else they were dealing with that day.
As it wasn’t a core services inspection, the Trust’s overall rating remains ‘Requires Improvement’ for urgent and emergency care and ‘Inadequate’ for medical care services and the stroke unit. These ratings date back to the last full inspection in October 2019.
You can read the report from the regulator in full on their website here.
The report includes a number of areas of outstanding practice observed during the visit as well as actions the Trust must do. I have included an overview of the improvements made against the CQC at the end of this blog to be completely transparent about some of the issues and how we’re tackling them.
The following areas were highlighted in the report as outstanding practice:
- There was an advanced paramedic who worked with the mental health liaison team to deflect admissions from the department to other services. Patients who requested an ambulance would be contacted by phone or visited by this team. This had been effective in reducing admissions to the department and shown a reduction in section 136 admissions to mental health services.
- The trust had developed strong processes in the emergency department to support safeguarding including the safeguarding navigator role and an independent domestic violence advisor. They had won an award for their work for victims of rape who attended their department.
- Due to the national issue of Deprivation of Liberty Safeguards (DoLS) authorisations not being reviewed by the local authority in a timely way, the trust had implemented a DoLS assurance process where patients were reviewed every seven days. This allowed for professional challenge between colleagues over whether the application was still required, to ensure any deprivation of a patient’s liberty was kept to a minimum.
I also wanted to share with you that the CQC’s deputy chief inspector for the north Ann Ford has commented on the report and summarised the areas we must improve. You can read the full press release here.
But I was pleased to see this comment in particular: “Inspectors did also see some examples of good practice. There was effective senior leadership of doctors and nurses. Junior doctors informed us that they felt supported and that consultants were open and easy to speak to.
“Inspectors found that the atmosphere, while busy, was calm and staff were aware of their roles and what they needed to do. A senior nurse told us that there was strong support from their manager and there had been massive leaps in patient care and patient safety following the appointment of the relatively new executive team.”
The Trust will now action those areas of improvement identified as part of our overall CQC action plan and ambitious improvement plans for the entire organisation. I am pleased, however, that the progress we are making for patients and their families is being recognised and making a difference to people’s lives.
There is much to do but I am confident we know what further improvements are needed and how to deliver them to best effective as quickly as we are able. We continue to work with all colleagues, regulators and the wider health and social care system to get better each and every day.
I would like to end by again thanking our staff for everything they are doing for each other, our patients and their families. I know how much it is appreciated.
Chief Executive, Blackpool Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust