Wolverhampton's New Cross among first hospitals to be judged under new Ofsted-style ratings

Hospitals will be assessed by new Ofsted-style ratings in a radical shake up of NHS inspections announced today – and Wolverhampton's New Cross Hospital will be of the first to be judged.

Wolverhampton's New Cross among first hospitals to be judged under new Ofsted-style ratings

Under the new system the Care Quality Commission (CQC) will label hospitals as outstanding, good, requires improvement or inadequate.

It follows on from this week's damning report by Sir Bruce Keogh into 14 failing hospitals – including Russell's Hall Hospital in Dudley – where death rates were higher than expected. The CQC system is designed to expose poor and mediocre care, as well as highlight successful hospitals.

The Royal Wolverhampton Hospitals NHS Trust is included in the first wave of 18 trusts to be inspected.

Visits by inspectors could be unannounced and may take place during evenings and weekends, when hospitals are busiest.

The CQC inspectors – headed up by clinical experts – will also spend longer scrutinising the hospitals they visit and cover every site that delivers acute services.

Professor Sir Mike Richards, the chief inspector of hospitals, announced the plans today and pledged to be 'completely open' about where good and bad care was being delivered.

He added: "There is too much variation in the quality of care patients receive – poor hospitals will need to up their game and learn from the best.

"These new-style inspections will allow us to get a much more detailed picture of care in hospitals than has ever been possible before in England.

"Inspections will be supported by an improved method for identifying risks and with much more information direct from patients and their families and hospital staff."

Cheryl Etches, chief nurse and deputy chief executive at The Royal Wolverhampton NHS Trust, said the inspection would give the trust an opportunity to prove the quality of its services and its commitment to patients and care.

She said: "The last time the CQC visited us in March they gave us a clean bill of health for addressing issues they raised during a previous inspection.

"These are challenging times for the health service, and it is no secret the trust, especially our emergency department, has to work hard under pressure to deliver the highest quality services.

"We are tremendously proud of the individuals, teams and services across the trust. They put our patients first."

Inspectors will focus in particular on eight specific areas – A&E, maternity, paediatrics, acute medical and surgical pathways, care for the elderly, end of life care and outpatients.

And the CQC will work with NHS England, Monitor and the NHS Trust Development Authority to put programmes in place for failing hospitals.

The first 18 trusts – which also include Heart of England NHS Foundation Trust in Birmingham – will be inspected in the next five months.

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