The Care Quality Commission (CQC) has published its findings following inspections of The Newcastle upon Tyne Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust.
Visits took place between June to September 2023, when inspectors visited urgent and emergency care, children and young people’s services, NECTAR (patient transport service), medical services, surgery and maternity.
They also spent time in the cardiothoracic surgery department at Freeman Hospital.
Inspectors rated that overall our organisation ‘requires improvement’ and this rating also applies to the categories of: safe; effective and responsive.
The rating for caring was ‘good’.
The rating for the organisation being well-led was ‘inadequate’.
Newcastle Hospitals’ new chief executive, Sir James Mackey, said:
“We fully accept the CQC’s reports.
“Their clear recommendations for attention and improvement are being worked on as a matter of urgency and I am confident we can fix this by working together across the organisation and focussing on what matters to patients and staff.
“A detailed programme of activity is already underway and will continue until we, and the CQC, are assured the issues have been addressed. This will involve some tough decisions but it’s important we get this right and that people can see change happening.
“Of course, it is a huge disappointment that our overall rating has been reduced and to hear of the difficulties experienced by some colleagues.
“I know from speaking to many staff over the last few weeks that providing the best possible patient care remains an absolute priority for everyone at Newcastle Hospitals.
“While this is a challenging time, it’s important to emphasise that the inspectors saw and highlighted the compassion and kindness of our teams and rated ‘caring’ as ‘good’.
Newcastle Hospitals’ improvement programme is themed around:
- A full review and test of the systems, checks and balances in place to monitor quality, safety and risk. Progress against this will be reported monthly to the CQC.
- Having an open and honest incident reporting system where staff are supported to speak up, share their ideas and report issues when they see or feel something could be done differently. Staff will be heard and responded to, and we will learn and share information to improve how we work.
- Creating the best possible environment for staff and patients which includes continuing a significant piece of work with colleagues from across the organisation looking at how we work together, our relationships and our culture.
Sir James added: “Our time and energies are focussed on making swift progress in the areas we know need to improve further, creating the best possible environment to care and work in, and making sure our hospitals are running smoothly and successfully.
“We will also identify where it would be best to take a partnership approach to address some of our challenges, with a focus on collaboration and developing more integrated services, locally and regionally.
“A heartfelt thank you to all colleagues who continue to work incredibly hard at a time of ongoing challenges and increasing demand on the NHS. We should not lose sight of the good work happening across Newcastle Hospitals – many of our teams are leaders in their field and we need to build back that confidence and pride.”
The full CQC inspection will be available on their website.