CQC Questions and Answers

Are services in Sandwell & West Birmingham Hospitals NHS Trust safe?

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Yes. The Trust received “good” ratings on the effective and caring domains meaning that you can be confident that you receive effective treatment from compassionate and caring staff.  Our critical care services, maternity care and adult community services received an overall “good” rating. The report does identify individual instances of poor practice and risk, but it does not identify harm or significant risk of harm.  Audits in our theatres and wards, undertaken early in 2015, continue to show safe practice, but room for improvement in some processes.  We have published our improvement plan today. Many of these actions we have already implemented, such as:

  • Improved record keeping in imaging;
  • Refurbished floors in the mortuaries;
  • Protected time for teams to learn from incidents and improve care; and
  • Checking and challenging each other on hand washing.
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Will recent workforce changes mean less staff around to care safely for patients?

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No. At the time of the CQC inspection we were beginning to consult with staff on structure changes. We have completed the first phase of this work and been able to keep the vast majority of staff affected within our organisation. This has meant that some individuals and teams are now working in different ways but these changes are essential to delivering effective patient care now and in the future. We are continuing to track the changes to makes sure they have been implemented safely.

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Are there enough nursing staff in the Trust?

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We know that our nurse to patient ratios meet (or exceed) the requirements of all mandatory guidelines across the Trust. We have also benchmarked our staffing levels against other similar organisations. We are working hard to fill any nursing vacancies so that we are fully staffed. Even now ‘fill rates’ – the national Safe Staffing measure – shows us among the most successful NHS organisations in staffing our wards.  This reflects hard work and dedication across our Trust.

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Are patient records and other confidential information safe?

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Yes, but we need to do better.  We have ordered new lockable trolleys for patient notes and are making sure that records are always kept in secure locations.

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Why were two services not given ratings?

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Outpatient and imaging effectiveness was not rated, and is not rated yet anywhere by the CQC, because they are working out a method to do this.  Our children’s community services, the high quality of which was highlighted to us in oral feedback, was not rated because of issues with the way that the CQC undertook their inspection.  They have promised to come back to the Trust and put this right later this year.

 

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How will you make sure that when staff raise concerns or report incidents, the right action is taken and they are informed about what’s been done?

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The CQC report is positive about the efforts that we have made to encourage everyone to report any concerns, including safety incidents or ‘near misses’ that they see, so that we can take appropriate action and learn from our mistakes.

There is more that we can do to report back on changes made as a result of concerns raised.  In April we launch our Quality Improvement Half Days, protected time once a month where non-essential services are stopped to allow teams to learn from each other and improve care.

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Can we be sure that the issues raised by the CQC are being tackled?

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Sandwell & West Birmingham Hospitals NHS Trust is absolutely determined to address rapidly the issues highlighted by the CQC.  We will be reporting progress through our website and in our public Trust Board meeting.  The CQC report will be one source of issues to be tackled during 2015/2016, but issues identified by patients, partners and staff are equally important, and we will prioritise actions across all sources of feedback.

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Will this report affect the Midland Met development, or the Trust’s plans to become a Foundation Trust?

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Not significantly.  If anything the report highlights the pressure on acute services, when we are obliged to deliver them across two sites.  The Midland Met Hospital development remains on timetable for 2018.  Nationally, Foundation Trust status is subject to policy review, and we would expect to commence our application in detail during 2016-17.  We will need to be re-inspected and achieve a Trust-wide rating of Good over the next two years.  We are confident that this can be achieved.

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