Improvements continue at Queen’s and King George hospitals despite remaining overall as ‘requires improvement’.


CQC inspectors have noted how improvements are continuing at Queen’s and King George hospitals, with three of the five domains rated ‘good’.

Barking, Havering and Redbridge University Hospitals NHS Trust, which runs both hospitals, was already rated as good for caring, now inspectors have recognised how the Trust has progressed and have rated both effective and well-led as good. The safe and responsive domains remain ‘requires improvement’, as does the Trust’s overall rating. 

In their report, published on Thursday 9 January, inspectors noted how ‘doctors, nurses and other healthcare professionals work well together to benefit patients, and support each other to provide good quality care’. They also praised how ‘staff treat patients with compassion and kindness, respecting their privacy and dignity and take into account their individual needs’.

Inspectors saw several examples of outstanding practice, such as end of life care at Queen’s Hospital, including mortuary visits for staff to help them understand the importance of care after death. The Trust’s Senior Intern scheme, the first of its kind in the country which has received national acclaim, was also outstanding. The scheme, which has grown from a team of three senior interns to five thanks to its success, involves experienced nurses supporting newly qualified colleagues, which has had a huge impact on retention rates at the Trust. Inspectors also said they had found demonstrable evidence of where the Trust’s PRIDE Way methodology for making improvements was having a positive impact. 

Chris Bown, interim Chief Executive at the Trust said:

While we know there is still much more to do, I am delighted that inspectors have recognised our steady progress; rated us as good in three of the domains, including well-led; and praised our kind and compassionate staff and the high quality of care we provide to our patients every day. I am heartened that England’s Chief Inspector of Hospitals, Professor Ted Baker, has said we are definitely moving in the right direction.”

Our Chair, Joe Fielder, commented:

Once again, our continuing, steady improvement has been recognised by the CQC. I would like to thank our staff, our patients and our partners for all their support as we strive to achieve our vision of providing outstanding care. I was also pleased that inspectors recognised we are working hard to improve our finances, despite challenging circumstances, and that NHS Improvement has moved our use of resources rating from ‘inadequate’, to ‘requires improvement’.” 

There were also several areas where improvements need to be made, which in most cases, are already underway. Inspectors noted the Paediatric Emergency Department at Queen’s Hospital should have sufficient staff at all times. Usually, two registered children’s nurses are in the department, however, when a second children’s nurse is unavailable, it is covered by a nurse, who, while not a specific children’s nurse, does have the additional paediatric experience to allow them to care for children.

Inspectors also found there could be a shortage of middle-grade doctors. Doctor recruitment is a challenge for NHS trusts across the country, and the Trust has already brought in innovative ways to tackle this, including introducing its own Academy of Surgery, to recruit doctors from abroad. 

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