East Kent Hospitals University NHS Foundation Trust (EKHUFT) has made widespread improvements to the quality of care patients receive over the last two years, as recognised by the Care Quality Commission (CQC) in their reinspection of the Trust’s hospitals in Ashford, Canterbury and Margate last year.
Sir Mike Richards, England’s Chief Inspector of Hospitals, recommended that the Trust be taken out of special measures in December 2016 as a result of “further significant improvements” for local patients, recognised in the latest CQC report.
NHS Improvement removed the Trust from quality special measures in March 2017. The Trust will receive support nationally, under its financial special measures programme, to progress the improvements it is making to reduce its financial deficit.
Sir Mike Richards said: “Staff at all levels are contributing to the improvement programme and as a result a momentum of improvement is apparent within the organisation.”
Trust Chief Executive, Matthew Kershaw, said:
“The tangible improvements recognised by the CQC are the result of our thousands of dedicated and hardworking staff who have together driven improvements for patients in their wards, clinics, theatres, laboratories, workshops and offices over the last two years.”
“This is a major step forward in our ongoing journey to improve how we care for our patients, their relatives and our staff. We have made significant progress which means that hospitals provide better care for our patients and are better places for our staff to work.”
While the overall Trust rating remains ‘requires improvement’, the CQC report “indicates a number of areas in which further significant improvements have been obtained, notably that there are no longer any elements that are rated inadequate.”
As well as the overall Trust rating the CQC gives an individual rating to each of the Trust’s three hospitals inspected this year.
- William Harvey Hospital, Ashford - rated ‘requires improvement’ overall, ‘good’ ratings for critical care and outpatient and diagnostic imaging.
- Queen Elizabeth The Queen Mother (QEQM) Hospital, Margate - rated ‘requires improvement’ overall, with medical care, critical care, services for children and young people, and outpatient and diagnostic imaging all ‘good’.
- Kent and Canterbury Hospital (K&C), Canterbury – rated ‘requires improvement’ overall, with the urgent care, critical care, services for children and young people, and outpatient and diagnostic imaging all ‘good’.
- The ratings for the Trust’s two hospitals in Dover, Buckland Hospital, and Folkestone, Royal Victoria Hospital, were rated ‘good’ in 2015 and not re-inspected in September.
Ongoing improvement journey
The CQC reports also highlights further areas for improvement, such as recruiting and retaining more staff, enabling more patients to access treatment sooner, improving the flow of patients through our hospitals, fully embedding early signs of improvement in maternity and end of life care, and making financial savings.
Matthew Kershaw added:
“The CQC rightly highlight the on-going challenges we face and further improvements we still need to make, such as recruiting and retaining more staff, enabling more patients to access treatment sooner, improving the flow of patients through our hospitals, and making financial savings.
“Encouragingly, these are things we know about and are already working hard to improve, through our on-going improvement plan and as part of efforts to transform how patients are cared for, both in and out of hospital, with our partners in Kent and Medway.
“We will not take the foot off the gas now that we are out of quality special measures but instead continue the momentum of improvement at pace to deliver services that better meet the needs of patients both now and in the future.”
Trust Board Chair, Nikki Cole, said:
“I am delighted that the CQC has recognised the widespread and sustained improvements made by the Trust’s hardworking staff. I am particularly pleased by the CQC finding that staff at all levels are contributing to the improvement programme. This is something that I have seen myself when shadowing and talking to our staff.”
The CQC gives each hospital up to 55 individual ratings for different services including whether they are safe, effective, caring, responsive and well-led, and six ratings for the Trust. The CQC gave EKHUFT a total of 162 ratings of which 80 were ‘good’ and none were ‘inadequate’ in 2016, compared to 66 ‘good’ and 9 ‘inadequate’ in 2015, and 51 ‘good’ and 34 ‘inadequate’ in 2014.