Weston seen as “Caring” by the Care Quality Commission with further improvements needed

The Care Quality Commission (CQC) have released their inspection report on Weston Area Health NHS Trust and have given Weston an overall rating of Requires Improvement.


In all areas of its service, the Trust  was rated as  Good for caring  and  staff received “overwhelmingly positive” praise and were described in the report by patients as “dedicated, “compassionate”  “kind and respectful”.


Child and adolescent mental health community services received an overall rating of Outstanding. Strong nurse leadership and staff engagement were also given special praise by the CQC.


Two specific safety concerns meant that safety in the Trust was rated as Inadequate. This was around the assessment and management of patients in the Emergency Department (ED) during busy periods of high patient attendance, and medical staffing levels - especially in medical care - impacting on to the supervision of junior doctors.


New Chief Executive of Weston Area Health NHS Trust, James Rimmer, describes the Trust’s reaction to the report:  


 “We are extremely proud that our services have been rated “good” for caring across the board. We have a great team of staff and volunteers at Weston and I’d like to thank them all for their hard work and loyalty to our patients. We fully take on board the CQCs findings. Weston requires improvement. Our staff truly care about their patients, and I’m confident they’ll deliver it.


“The CQC told us how clean the hospital is and how engaged and patient focused we are as an organisation. We can see from this latest inspection that the Trust has made significant progress since our last CQC visit two years ago” he said.


“Nevertheless the report has raised significant concerns. We recognise there needs to be an urgent and intense focus on safety in the two areas the CQC have identified for urgent improvement, as well as focusing on those services highlighted as requiring improvement.”


Several actions have already been taken as a result of the CQC report.  These include:


Emergency Department (ED)

  • A revised patient assessment process has been implemented in line with national guidance so ED can cope better during periods of high patient attendance.
  • A strengthened assessment process has been introduced, so there is early review of patients with closer monitoring of ambulance arrivals during periods of high demand.

Talking about actions in the Emergency Department James said “The Trust has already taken action to improve our patient assessment times since the CQC visit in May. Patients can now be assured our initial assessment will be much more timely.”


Actions on Medical staffing

  • Developing new partnership arrangement with surrounding Trusts. Increasing medical staff numbers by looking at sharing doctors and clinical work.
  • Improving the support, training and supervision of junior doctors by the Consultant teams through new induction programme. Intensifying levels of supervision and increasing Consultant time on the wards.

Reacting to concerns about medical staffing  James said:


“Our Consultant and medical teams work extremely hard, but this issue will only be tackled by taking a region wide approach. Currently I’m in discussions with surrounding Trusts to create new partnerships and arrangements to help us.


“Working with our Medical Director, we are regularly meeting with our Consultants to develop new approaches to the supervision of junior doctors. We’ve already launched a “Great Start” initiative for supervising our new junior doctors which is led by our Consultant team and has received good feedback.”


The skill mix of staff and admissions procedure into the Harptree High Care Unit was also raised as a particular concern in the report. As a result the Trust has increased the staff to patient ratio. Admissions into Harptree are now overseen by a Consultant with greater oversight from the Intensive Care Unit.


Nurse leadership in the Trust was particularly praised in the CQC report. Described as “visible, approachable and focussed on improving the quality and safety of patient care”


Chris Perry, Director of Nursing commented: 


“We have a fantastic team of nurses, midwives and nursing assistants at the Trust and an excellent senior nurse team. Reading such glowing commendations from the CQC about our nurses and midwifes makes me proud to be Director of Nursing at Weston.”


“I am delighted that all their hard work over the last two years has been recognised by the CQC and that the improvements we’ve made are now imbedded in normal practice.”


In conclusion, James said: “Weston is on a journey of improvement”


“It is great to see the improvements we’ve made over the last two years being noted by the CQC. Our efforts in improving our services and delivery especially around safety will continue with vigour so that we can build on the progress we’ve already made.” 


Read the full report HERE.