The Evelina London Children’s Hospital (ELCH) has been awarded an “outstanding” rating in its first ever inspection.
Care Quality Commission (CQC) inspectors have also rated services at Guy’s Hospital in London Bridge and St Thomas’ in Westminster as “good” despite operating in “challenging times” for the NHS.
The health watchdog made surprise visits to the hospitals managed by the Guy’s and St Thomas’ NHS Foundation Trust throughout September and published their findings on March 24.
Inspectors praised staff at ELCH, established in 2014, for providing a truly integrated model of health care to children across acute and community services.
The report found that leadership in the children’s hospital, which straddles the borders of Southwark and Lambeth, was “outstanding”.
It read: “The vision to establish Evelina as a comprehensive specialist children’s hospital within a regional clinical network was well understood and supported by staff. We found an open and transparent culture with motivated and compassionate staff who were well informed about the hospital’s priorities and there was an ethos of continuous improvement.”
But CQC inspectors rated community health services for adults as “requiring improvement” throughout the trust.
They found a shortage of experienced nursing and therapy staff had left some teams “overstretched” and record keeping was inconsistent meaning nurses did not always have a clear understanding of a patient’s health status when giving treatment.
The chief inspector of hospitals at the CQC, Sir Mike Richards, said that many of the services were rated as “good” in the first comprehensive inspection since new methodology was introduced.
He said: “Although there were vacancies in all areas, the trust was recruiting to ensure that staffing levels were maintained at safe levels.
“I note that the trust has not been meeting the 62-day target on access to cancer treatment for some time.
“I know that the trust is facing increasing demand on its services, and we will continue to monitor its performance in these challenging times.”
Chief executive of the trust Amanda Pritchard welcomed the health watchdog’s findings. She said: “The report paints a very positive picture of the compassion and dedication of our staff to deliver high quality care to patients.
“I am delighted that the CQC has highlighted so many areas of excellent practice throughout the trust and has rated both our children’s and emergency services as outstanding.
“The CQC report also highlights areas for improvement and I look forward to working with our staff, patients and local stakeholders to tackle these together in the weeks and months ahead.”
The News is attempting to raise £100,000 for Evelina and is only £8,000 off target!