The Care Quality Commission (CQC) has downgraded Gloucestershire Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust’s surgical services and the Trust’s Well-led rating from ‘Good’ to ‘Requires Improvement’ following a recent inspection.
In their report the inspection team praised staff for their commitment and dedication to their patients and their colleagues.
Leaders and managers throughout the organisation are disappointed with the rating but are determined to take the necessary steps to restore and rebuild confidence in their services. The Trust says that significant improvements have already been made since the inspectors visited the Trust in June.
Deborah Lee, Chief Executive, said: “I am incredibly proud of my colleagues for the work they have done over the pandemic. This has been an unprecedented and challenging period of time in the NHS’s history and staff have been selfless in their efforts to deliver the very best care, in very difficult circumstances. However, not all of the findings in this report can be explained away and I am determined that this report will provide further momentum and impetus to address these issues.
Ms Margaret Coyle, Chief of Service for the Surgical Division and Consultant Oral and Maxillofacial Surgeon, said: “Reading this report has been difficult and I feel disappointed that the work of my colleagues throughout and after the pandemic has not been fully recognised.”
“We have put our patients at the centre of everything we do and as a surgeon operating in Gloucestershire, I would like to reassure patients that our services are safe. Currently, our surgical outcomes remain in line with other centres nationally and are better in some areas. I have excellent medical and nursing colleagues and I would be happy for a member of my family to have surgery here.”
“I am proud that during the pandemic we continued to offer surgery to people with cancer and other urgent conditions, when hospitals around us paused their services – a decision that I believe saved lives. The CQC are right to point out that on occasions this meant patients were not always cared for in the right setting including them having to remain in theatre overnight. However, patients that I have spoken to said faced with the alternative of not having their surgery it was a compromise they were willing to make and were pleased to have been given that option.”
Professor Mark Pietroni, Medical Director and Director for Safety, said: “Inspectors raised concerns about the number of Never Events [something that is avoidable if procedures and protocols are followed and are often attributable to human factors or a failure of systems] that have occurred in the Trust. Our Quality Academy has been working with our surgical teams for more than a year, with a particular focus on theatres where the majority of these events occur. We have made huge strides in this area and have not had a never event for 295 days in theatres from a previous average of one every 59 days”
Dr Claire Radley, Director for People and Organisational Development, said: “The CQC has raised some very important issues in respect of the culture within the Trust. There are no circumstances when it is ever acceptable for staff to feel bullied, to be subjected to discrimination or to fear reprisals when they have had the courage to speak out.
“These are issues that have been raised through our own staff survey and as such have received, and continue to receive, the leadership’s full attention. We are determined to move towards a more positive culture which focuses on fairness, openness and learning, and have a clear plan to deliver this improvement which was acknowledged by the CQC. We know that if we get this right, it will improve the safety and quality of all of our services and make Gloucestershire Hospitals a place staff want to work and recommend to others.”.
Deborah Lee, Chief Executive, added: “We are determined that this report will provide further momentum and impetus to address these issues and are working harder than ever to engage and involve our frontline colleagues in finding solutions to our challenges.”
The Trust expects the CQC to re-inspect its services in the next few months and will be working with all its colleagues and partners to address the concerns set out in its report.