How we are improving services for our patients

East Kent’s hospitals are providing outstanding practice in some areas, but there is more work to do to embed improvements and manage pressure on the Trust’s services, according to the latest report on East Kent Hospitals University NHS Foundation Trust’s services published by the Care Quality Commission (CQC).  

The CQC inspected the Trust’s hospitals in Ashford, Canterbury and Margate in May and June 2018 with a further inspection of paediatric services in October 2018. 

The Trust’s rating remains at Requires Improvement after the CQC looked in detail at four areas at three of the Trust’s five hospitals – urgent and emergency services, surgery, maternity and end of life care – as well as the ‘well-led’ aspect of the Trust.

The CQC found areas of outstanding practice, including:

  • How the Trust uses technology to improve the patient experience. For instance, patients can use mobile phone applications to access information about pregnancy and the maternity department, and to get additional support and guidance about surgery before and after their operation.
  • An specialist intravenous access team takes blood samples and inserts cannulas under ultrasound guidance – this gives patients a better patient experience as it minimises the number of attempts that need to be made to ‘find a vein’. The Trust is the first in the country to implement this innovative service in emergency departments. 
  • Also within the emergency departments, equipment in the resuscitation area is very well organised with colour coded drawers and clearly labelled equipment in glass-fronted cabinets, which means staff can quickly find the correct equipment they need.
  • The maternity service has ‘a unique and ambitious approach to education’ and the faculty of multi-professional learning provides training that ‘exceeded that of other maternity units’. The service has top of the range simulators for staff training and is the only maternity unit in England to have undertaken quality assurance in clinicians’ essential life support skills.

Children's services inspection 

The CQC inspected services for children and young people provided at the William Harvey Hospital, Ashford, and Queen Elizabeth The Queen Mother Hospital, Margate, on 23, 24 and 25 October 2018. These services include the children’s ward at each hospital, the emergency departments and operating theatres. In its report, the CQC rated children’s services ‘good’ for caring, but the overall rating for children’s services in the two hospitals is ‘inadequate’.

Find out more about the significant changes the Trust has made to hospital care following the CQC inspection.

Feedback from unannounced visits

The Care Quality Commission carried out an unannounced inspection of maternity services at Queen Elizabeth The Queen Mother Hospital, Margate, and William Harvey Hospital, Ashford, on 22 and 23 January 2020, along with a further unannounced visit to the hospitals on 4 and 5 February 2020.

As a result of these visits, the CQC has rated East Kent Hospitals’ maternity service as ‘good’ for effectiveness, care and responsiveness and ‘requires improvement’ for leadership and safety.

Ongoing improvement journey 

We have improvement plans to address both 2018 inspection reports and the majority of actions are now complete. 

Since the 2020 inspections, a great deal of work has been going on in the Trust and are determined to provide an excellent standard of care to every mother and child who uses our maternity service. We'll continue to make improvements and make sure positive changes are thoroughly embedded, so local families can have absolute confidence in their care.

As well as the overall Trust rating, the CQC gives an individual rating to each of the Trust’s three hospitals inspected. You can view the ratings here.

Our CQC Ratings