Walsall Healthcare NHS Trust still 'requires improvement' after latest inspections

Walsall Healthcare NHS Trust still "requires improvement" after three recent Care Quality Commission inspections.

Walsall's Manor Hospital is run by the Trust
Walsall's Manor Hospital is run by the Trust

"Some improvements" were found by inspectors during unannounced visits to the Trust, which runs Walsall Manor Hospital, in September, October and November last year.

Inspectors visited children and young person’s services, medical and surgical services at the Trust.

Following the inspection, the trust’s overall rating remains as requires improvement. The ratings for safe, effective, well-led and responsive remained as requires improvement, and caring remained as outstanding.

Andy Brand, CQC's deputy director of operations, Midlands network, said: "When we returned to Walsall Healthcare NHS Trust, whilst we did see some areas of improvement and good practice, more work needs to be done to ensure people receive safe and appropriate care.

"Leaders were enthusiastic about the direction of travel, not only for the trust but for the system as a whole and had taken steps to address any shortfalls. This included system-wide training to ensure staff at all levels were clear about their roles and accountabilities.

"We were pleased to see improvement regarding teams working well together and feeling more confident to report and learn from patient safety incidents which had been a previous area of concern."

He added: "We were impressed with the exceptional performance in the emergency department at Walsall Manor Hospital where the trust had some of the quickest times in the country for seeing emergency patients as well the lowest ambulance handover delays in the region.

"The trust must be also commended for being rated outstanding for being caring a second time. Throughout our inspection we saw staff treating patients with compassion and kindness and delivered care which respected people’s individual needs.

"We will continue to monitor the trust and expect to see that the trust has addressed the areas where further improvement is still needed, by the next time we inspect."

During the inspection it was found safe processes and systems were not always in place to manage the prescribing, administration and storage of patients’ medicines and medicine related documents.

Services for children and young people did not always take account of patients’ individual needs.

In surgery services, although people could not always access the service when they needed it, the trust was working hard to ensure waiting times from referral to treatment and arrangements to admit, treat and discharge patients were in line with national standards.

Inspectors also found service leaders did not always run services well and information systems were not always reliable and in surgery services, staff did not always assess risks to patients in relation to venous thromboembolism (VTE)

The Trust was praised for gold standard care for patients with hip fractures which resulted in a national award and is now rated as second best in the region for its service.

The diabetes service had received several awards for improvements for care of people admitted to hospital with diabetic emergencies.

Services managed safety incidents well and learned lessons from them. Staff felt respected, supported and valued and were focused on the needs of patients receiving care.

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