Care Quality Commission, the organisation that monitors the quality and safety of health care services, has assessed Torbay Hospital’s urgent and emergency services (including the Hospital’s Emergency Department) and the medicine specialties as ‘overall Good’, following an unannounced re-inspection on 4 and 5 May 2017.
This is a significantly improved rating from the previous inspection of these services published in June 2016. Both services achieved ‘good’ for caring at that time, but a rating of ‘inadequate’ overall for emergency care and ‘requires improvement’ for medicine reflected the significant pressures staff were under during a very challenging period of high demand.
Although improvement work was already underway, the report refocused the efforts of Trust staff to make significant changes, and front line teams across our hospital and community services have been working hard to bring about improvements. These included:
· More senior hospital doctors and nurses on duty 7 days a week to match the times of high demand for emergency care
· Intermediate care teams working 7 days a week to prevent hospital admission and ensure ‘no delays’ in discharging patients who are no longer acutely unwell
· Increasing the number of patients discharged before noon so they are ‘home for lunch’ and beds are freed up to reduce the time new patients wait for admission
· A new rapid assessment area in ED running 24 hours, 7 days a week
· A separate waiting and treatment area for children in ED
· A new psychiatric assessment suite in ED to provide a safe space for the care of patients in mental health crisis
In their report, inspectors said they “witnessed exceptional examples of multi-disciplinary working as staff worked together to make sure all patients received safe care.” They also noted that “there was a culture of openness and honesty” and said that “without exception, all of the wards and areas we visited had worked hard to meet the needs of their patients.”
The report also highlights areas for improvement relating to accurate documentation, equipment servicing, the environment, storage of records and training updates. Staff have already developed actions to address these.
Chief Executive of Torbay and South Devon NHS Foundation Trust, Mairead McAlinden, commented: “CQC inspections are really important as they provide an objective assessment of the safety and quality of care, so we are really pleased that this report reflects the hard work of our staff to make the improvements recommended in last year’s inspection.
“The CQC came back in May and saw our whole system working well under intense pressure, but making the best use of all the services provided by our hospital and community teams to deliver ‘right care, right place, right time’.
“Some of these changes have been difficult for staff – working different hours so care is available when needed, investing in services that support people to remain in their community by reducing our bed based care, and sharing professional responsibility to integrate health and social care delivery. The positive improvements these changes have made to the care we provide is reflected throughout this report. This is testimony to the commitment of staff teams across the Trust, they have embraced new ways of working and made these changes a success. There is always more to do but this report shows excellent progress.
“The improved rating for these core services puts us in a good position to achieve an overall rating of good or outstanding in our next full inspection. Our staff should be very proud of what they have achieved and the positive feedback from CQC and our patients about the excellent care this Trust provides.”