NHS trusts to undergo tough inspections
TWO West Country health trusts will be scrutinised to ensure they are safe, have caring staff and are well managed.
The Care Quality Commission (CQC) has announced the organisations to be put under the spotlight in the second wave of their new monitoring programme.
The tougher inspection regime was introduced in the wake of the scandal at Mid Staffordshire Hospital where an estimated 1,200 patients died despite the trust meeting targets.
In the West Country, the Royal Cornwall Hospital Trust (RCHT) will be inspected, as well as Devon Partnership NHS Trust, which provides mental health and learning disability services in the county.
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The former has already been inspected recently by the CQC and in a detailed statistical report notes a number of risk areas, including one of "elevated risk".
According to the report, this relates to "whistleblowing alerts".
The elevated risks identified relate to mortality rates in two areas and low scores in the NHS staff survey. However, the RCHT is in the group of 19 acute hospitals included in the latest wave of inspections because of its application to become a foundation trust.
Devon Partnership has been included to help the organisation fine tune its monitoring of trusts which provide mental health or community services.
The CQC said all NHS trusts will be inspected under the new regime by the end of next year.
It has put trusts in bands one to six according to the urgency of the need for assessment, with Royal Devon and Exeter Hospital and Derriford in band four; RCHT and North Devon Healthcare in band five and South Devon Healthcare in the least urgent band six.
The CQC said each inspection seeks to answer five questions about services: are they safe, caring, effective, well-led and responsive to people's needs? Inspectors will then make a judgement about the quality of care.
Care will be rated as outstanding, good, requiring improvement or inadequate.
Professor Sir Mike Richards, the CQC's chief inspector of hospitals, said: "Our intelligent monitoring helps to give us a good picture of risk within trusts, showing where we need to focus inspections.
"We aim to publish the results at regular intervals. They will provide the basis for constant contact with NHS hospitals and other NHS organisations, and may lead to inspections in response to particular issues."
The intelligent monitoring is based on 150 indicators that look at a range of information including patient experience and staff experience.