"There are 16,000 reasons why inspectors have rated Sheffield Teaching Hospitals Trust as 'Good' overall and 'Outstanding' for many of its services."
Thanks to the hard work and commitment of 16,000 staff and volunteers, Sheffield Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust has been given an overall rating of ‘Good’ by the Care Quality Commission (CQC) with many services rated as ‘Outstanding.’
This means the Trust is one of only 18 (out of 174 Trusts) to have achieved green in every one of the five domains which the Care Quality Commission use to rate a NHS organisation. This is a reassuring confirmation of the quality of care and service our patients can expect at a time when they are often most vulnerable.
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The Care Quality Commission highlighted Critical Care, Maternity and Gynaecology, Community Health Services, Outpatients and Community Dental Services as ‘Outstanding.’
The Trust runs the Royal Hallamshire and Northern General Hospitals as well as Weston Park Cancer Hospital, Charles Clifford Dental Hospital and the Jessop Wing Maternity Hospital. The Trust also provides a wide range of community health services to people across Sheffield.
A team of over 80 inspectors visited the Trust’s hospital and community based services between 7th and 11th December 2015 with further unannounced visits taking place in the two weeks following this. The CQC spoke to patients, carers, and staff of all levels. They also sought views and perceptions of Sheffield Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust from external organisations including Healthwatch and local NHS commissioners.
Inspectors said they saw “patients being cared for with kindness, dignity and respect and in many services across acute and community, patients told us they were very happy with their care.”
The other main findings included:
• There was effective leadership of the board and across the organisation. The trust has a clear vision and corporate strategy, which is known and understood by staff. The trust’s values are clearly embedded across the organisation.
• Appropriate systems and procedures are in place to keep patients safe, including safeguarding and infection control.
• Systems are in place to ensure that patients received evidence-based care. Monitoring showed the trust performed well when compared with other hospitals.
• Feedback from patients and relatives was positive about the care they received.
• Inspectors found effective systems in place to support the needs of individual patients, including those living with dementia.
The report also recognises that there is a strong safety culture across the Trust with a well-established culture of continuous quality improvement. The Trust’s PROUD values were also understood and owned across the full range of staff groups.”
The Chief Inspector of Hospitals, Professor Sir Mike Richards, said:
“We found the care at Sheffield Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust to be of a good standard. There was a clear vision and strategy for delivering the highest standards of patient care with quality and safety as a key focus. Inspectors noted that there was a culture of innovation and improvement, evident throughout all levels of the organisation. There was a well-established culture of continuous improvement at the trust and they had good systems for supporting small scale service improvements. We found very positive examples of patient care."
"On the intensive care units, an electronic patient information system was in use, which ensured effective care was delivered and it was fully integrated and provided real-time information across teams and services. Within midwifery, the one to one team and specialist midwife clinics gave greater assurance that high risk women continued to have a choice on the care they received in pregnancy.”
“They are also doing some outstanding work through their community dental service, providing exceptional support to residential care homes through collaboration with local partners. Their clinical lead was also instrumental in developing a national benchmarking tool for describing the complexity of patients treated by the community dental services. Other hospitals will I am sure want to benefit from this good practice."
“This report identifies many areas where the trust, across a number of sites, has been prepared to innovate and introduce new pathways of care and it is clear that a number of these are bearing results. The trust is to be congratulated and I look forward to seeing how these changes bring even greater benefits to patients in the future.”
There were a number of areas where inspectors identified outstanding practice including:
• At Weston Park Hospital specialised cancer services provided a patient-centred holistic approach to patient care where the whole multidisciplinary team worked together to ensure the patient’s experience of the service was the best that it could be.
• At the same location, the teenage cancer unit had a number of innovations which had been paid for out of charitable funds. These included a ‘couples retreat’ for end of life patients and their partners. They could spend time away from home and explore issues about coming to the end of life.
• The trust has a number of initiatives that had been nationally recognised as good practice. For example, Active Recovery was an innovative service. It was the first in England to provide this model of care and had been cited by the Royal College of Physicians as an exemplar of good practice.
• Another example was the duty floor anaesthetist role in theatre, developed in Sheffield, which was going to be used by the Royal College of Anaesthetists as a beacon of good practice.
• For community inpatients, feedback received from patients was consistently positive about the way nursing and therapy staff treated them. Patients told inspectors that staff go the extra mile. Staff and patients confirmed that the unit had a flexible approach to care.
The report highlights many more examples of innovative and outstanding care and that comes from our staff being committed to continuous improvement in all that we do. Our drive to want to make things even better is important because although we are recognised as one of the best providers of care in the NHS, we are also not one that is complacent and we know that there are always things we can improve further. Often this drive for improvement results in amazing sparks of innovation and positive change.
As we would expect following a robust inspection of such a large and complex organisation as ours, there are some areas where further improvements are recommended in the report. Almost all of the areas highlighted are ones that we had already begun to address such as a major refurbishment of Weston Park Hospital to improve the facilities for patients and staff. On End of Life Care we are already doing a lot of work to change how we care for people and we have recently launched a guide for our staff on how to communicate well and appropriately with patients at the end of their life and with their relatives. Our staffing is continually monitored to ensure appropriate levels are maintained and despite national shortages facing all Hospital Trusts, in the last 12 months we have been successful in attracting more than 360 new nurses into our Trust and a number of additional staff for the Emergency Department and other areas is also planned.
Finally, all our staff, volunteers, charities and partner organisations work so hard to do their best for our patients and so I am pleased that this has been reflected in the Good rating. I am incredibly proud and privileged to work with such a fantastic team of people. Proud, caring, compassionate and prepared to go the extra mile are just some of the words used by the CQC about our teams and the care they give to patients every single day.
You can read more about some of the outstanding areas highlighted by the Care Quality Commission below.
Sir Andrew Cash OBE