Devon NHS Trust Told To Improve

North Devon Healthcare Trust Told To Make Improvements

12.09.2014

The North Devon Healthcare Trust has been told to improve by the Care Quality Commission (CQC) Investigation after an extensive investigation was carried out into practices at its hospitals.

On the whole, facilities were found to be of a high standard, with the North Devon District Hospital in Barnstaple achieving an 'outstanding' rating, but the CQC identified several areas where improvements could be made.

Chief inspector of hospitals at the CQC Professor Sir Mike Richards commented: "We found that the trust has a healthy, patient-focused culture with staff who feel well supported and valued."

However, he added: "In A&E, there were significant infection control issues and on the wards at Barnstaple we had concerns about the practices of moving patients overnight."

In addition, CQC inspectors found that there was room for improvement in the way the NHS Trust dealt with pain management, as well as end-of-life care provisions, indicating the treatment of some patients could be better.

Alongside the Barnstaple facility, the Trust also manages 17 cottage hospitals throughout Devon, as well as community healthcare services.

Earlier this year, it was announced that as part of a structure shake-up, the Trust may be set to lose control of community services and hospitals based in mid and east Devon, but it hopes that the CQC report will show that this would be the wrong choice to make.

Commenting on the results of the investigation, chief executive of the Trust Alison Diamond said it was "a real achievement" to receive the first outstanding rating for an acute hospital with regard to medical care.

However, she added the Trust was "disappointed" that the verdict was that it needed to make improvements, but it was taking these recommendations seriously.
Ms Diamond explained that since July, it has already taken steps to address the issues uncovered by the CQC investigation.

For instance, the Trust is now working hard to make sure that all patients receive the pain relief they require upon arrival at A&E, leaving Ms Diamond feeling confident that if the inspectors were to return, no further improvements would need to be made.

Expert Opinion
The safety of patients should always be the priority for the NHS and a key part of providing high quality care is ensuring that required national standards are being met in all areas.

“The CQC’s findings at facilities run by the North Devon Healthcare Trust are a concern and it is vital that steps are taken to ensure that the issues highlighted with end-of-life care and pain management are addressed at the hospitals under the Trust’s control.

“However, it is encouraging that some of the hospitals in the region achieved an ‘outstanding’ rating and it is important action is taken to bring all facilities and services up to this standard to ensure patients in the region get the best possible care.”
Julie Lewis, Partner