CQC upgrades Hinchingbrooke rating

The Care Quality Commission has upgraded Hinchingbrooke Healthcare NHS Trust’s rating from ‘inadequate’ to ‘requires improvement’

The Care Quality Commission (CQC) has upgraded Hinchingbrooke Healthcare NHS Trust’s rating from ‘inadequate’ to ‘requires improvement’, but the trust remains in special measures, it has emerged.

The improved rating follows a second visit to the trust by CQC inspectors in January this year, shortly before it published a damning report on the trust and recommended it be placed in special measures.

Hinchingbrooke was the only NHS hospital to be run by a private company – Circle Holdings. But, on the same day the CQC published its report, Circle, which took over under a ten-year contract in February 2012, announced it was pulling out of the deal.

The trust returned to the NHS on April 1 this year.

In its first inspection, carried out in September 2014, the CQC highlighted serious concerns and gave the trust an overall rating of ‘inadequate’.

The trust also became the first in the UK to be rated ‘inadequate’ for the care it provided.

But as a result of the follow-up inspection, the trust has now been rated as ‘requires improvement’ in all categories – safe, effective, caring, responsive and well-led.

The CQC’s chief inspector of hospitals, Professor Sir Mike Richards, said: ‘When we returned to inspect Hinchingbrooke Healthcare NHS Trust we found a number of improvements had been made on the Apple Tree and Juniper Wards. We were pleased the trust had acted swiftly to make improvements to these wards and to safety in the emergency department.’

Circle claimed the original report had been ‘misleading and unbalanced’ and had raised concerns about the number of inaccuracies it contained.

In a statement, chief executive officer of Hinchingbrooke, Hisham Abdel-Rahman, said: 'The latest report from the CQC recognises the ongoing hard work and effort of staff here at Hinchingbrooke to make sure we provide high quality and safe services for all our patients, day and night.  I am pleased that our overall rating has improved and that over half of all the areas inspected are now rated as ‘good’.’

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