Hard work by teams across Walsall Healthcare NHS Trust to improve services for patients has been recognised in the latest inspection report released by the Care Quality Commission (CQC), which shows progress in each service area.
The CQC has rated the Trust as “Requires Improvement” overall, with a rating of “Good” for the caring domain and a rating of “Outstanding” for its community services. There are only a handful of community services in the country with this rating.
Richard Kirby, Chief Executive, said: “We were encouraged by the inspectors’ feedback that the Trust they inspected in June this year was “a very different Trust” to the one they visited back in 2015 confirming that our improvement journey is starting to show significant results. We know we have more to do to continue to improve but I am proud of our teams and the progress that this report shows that they have made to improve care for the people of Walsall. I am especially proud that the CQC say our staff were “kind caring and compassionate.”
“But we know we still have lots more to do to deliver our vision. The next steps in our improvement journey include improving maternity services, embedding our new clinically-led way of working and ensuring that all our services are providing sustainably high quality care.”
Seventy per cent of the ratings in the report, published today, Wednesday 20 December, are “good” or “outstanding”. The report also emphasises several areas of “outstanding practice” in Urgent and Emergency Services, End of Life Care and Outpatients and Diagnostic Imaging and repeatedly references the “kind, compassionate and respectful” care shown to patients.
A number of examples of significant improvement since the 2015 inspection include:
- Increased staff numbers and dedicated separate paediatric and waiting areas in ED
- The culture in the Outpatients Department has changed considerably for the better with local staff taking responsibility and ownership for their own areas and specialities
- Evidence seen of good multidisciplinary team working where staff worked together to safely discharge patients or plan their future care
- Trust’s Frail Elderly Service has helped prevent many unnecessary hospital admissions
- Most staff reported their managers were “visible, supportive and approachable”
Maternity services remain inadequate though the CQC has recognised improvement in the service since 2015.
Deputy Clinical Director, Mr James Davis said: “We know that we still have challenges to address in maternity services where the pace of change was not initially as swift as in other areas of the Trust. The establishment of the new leadership team took longer than anticipated, but there are clear signs of the improvements that we want to continue to embed.
“I am pleased to see that the CQC report states that management is “visible and approachable” in maternity, and that we are moving in the right direction and creating a culture where staff are encouraged and supported to raise concerns and make suggestions.
“Since the inspection the Trust has recruited 11 new midwives and has also appointed four specialist midwives including a specialist bereavement midwife. We have worked hard to reduce our midwife to birth ratio from 1:35 in 2015 to 1:25 currently. We have a clear plan which we have actively been working on since the inspection in June and are making sure that we communicate that to all of our staff groups.”
Richard recognised the hard work by the Trust’s staff, adding: “I want to thank our staff for being the driving force behind the many improvements that have been made so far; we would not have made the progress we have done without their commitment. .”
“We have always been very clear that this latest inspection was an important milestone on our improvement journey but that it was not the end of the journey. We know that we need to continue to build on the foundations we’ve laid and to work with partners across the health and social care system to collectively deliver services that meet the needs of the communities we serve.
“We will be working with our clinical teams to take the action needed to ensure that all of our teams are able to achieve “good” or “outstanding” ratings in the future. “
Click here to view the full report.