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Praise for Birmingham Children's Hospital nurses after outstanding CQC rating

Birmingham Children’s Hospital NHS Foundation Trust has become the first children’s hospital to be rated Outstanding by the Care Quality Commission

Birmingham Childrens Hospital NHS Foundation Trust has become the first childrens hospital to be rated outstanding by the Care Quality Commission (CQC).

The trust was rated outstanding on its services being caring, effective and responsive, good for services being well-led and requires improvement for services being safe in the report .

Inspectors highlighted a number of examples of outstanding practice including the hospital's safety routines in the paediatric intensive care unit, and approach to care of terminally ill children.

The report, which was based on an inspection carried out in May 2016 and published on February 21, represents a considerable turnaround for the trust, which eight years ago faced criticism for substandard care.

What

Birmingham Children’s Hospital NHS Foundation Trust has become the first children’s hospital to be rated outstanding by the Care Quality Commission (CQC).


Birmingham Children's Hospital NHS Foundation Trust has recieved an outstanding rating from the CQC
Picture: Newsteam

The trust was rated outstanding on its services being caring, effective and responsive, good for services being well-led and requires improvement for services being safe in the report.

Inspectors highlighted a number of examples of outstanding practice – including the hospital's safety routines in the paediatric intensive care unit, and approach to care of terminally ill children.

The report, which was based on an inspection carried out in May 2016 and published on February 21, represents a considerable turnaround for the trust, which eight years ago faced criticism for substandard care.

What means most

Trust chief nursing officer Michelle McLoughlin said: ‘For me, the part of the CQC report which means the most, is the outstanding rating specifically for if are our services are caring.

‘We all know that everyone working in the trust has played a part, but anyone I ask to define who provides care in our hospital, they always answer "the nurses".

‘That is definitely what the nurses I have spoken to have been most proud about. It’s a massive accolade as they all work so hard to ensure patients are absolutely at the heart of everything we do.’

Covered

Inspectors found 96% of all the planned nursing shifts between October 2015 and April 2016 had been covered and highlighted its use of safe staffing tools to ensure sufficient numbers.

In 2009 the CQC's predecessor the Healthcare Commission published the findings of its three-month inquiry into the hospital – ordered by the then health secretary Alan Johnson – which revealed poor care, insufficient training and lack of equipment posed a serious risk to children's health.

Ms McLoughlin is also chair of the NHS Improvement team reviewing safe staffing guidance for children’s services, which is due to publish its findings next month.

She added: ‘It’s very much a multi-tool approach, with professional judgement being absolutely key. The acuity of patients literally changes minute-by-minute and our nurses know they have to be responsive enough to pick up on that.

‘Every director of nursing would probably say they want more nurses, but that’s not always the answer.

‘I’m a realist and I know we’re in a period of austerity, so it’s important to be investing in the staff we have, giving them the training and education they need and doing all we can to retain them.’

Improvement

The only area of the trust to receive a ‘requires improvement’ rating related to safety, with concerns raised over staff’s ability to demonstrate they fully understood their responsibilities under duty of candour.

This specifically deals with the need to be open, honest and transparent and inform patients of ‘notifiable safety incidents’.

Ms McLoughlin, who has been in post since 2007, explained: ‘There is no doubt in my mind that our nurses have been having those very difficult talks with patients and their families.

‘What we have to be better at – and we are already acting on all the CQC recommendations – is making sure the records of those conversations are available when requested.

‘We’ve said all along, we’ve been rated outstanding, not "perfect" and there is always more we can do to improve our services.’


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