The Care Quality Commission upgraded the rating of Dorset Healthcare University NHS Foundation Trust, which provides mental health and community services, from “good” to “outstanding”.
“Organisations do not provide outstanding care – people do”
In its latest report, published today, the CQC praised the trust for its nurse rotation practice which saw general nurses with a physical healthcare background performing shifts on the mental health wards and the mental health nurses carrying out shifts on the physical health wards.
“This meant that both nurses gained valuable insight and experience in mental and physical healthcare that they transferred to their own wards,” the CQC stated.
In addition, the health watchdog highlighted examples of “outstanding practice” within the trust’s community health services for adults, which included the work of nursing staff at Alderney Hospital, who rearranged a ward for an elderly couple who were admitted. The CQC praised the staff for going the extra mile and helping the couple to feel more comfortable by ensuring they were placed in adjoining beds.
It also commended one nurse who took the time to visit a patient living in an isolated rural area with two babies. The patient would not normally have qualified for a home visit, but the nurse visited the patient regardless to attend to a wound dressing and to monitor them for infection, the inspectors noted.
However, the CQC noted that the recruitment of district nurses and allied health professionals to the trust had “remained difficult”.
In addition, it raised concerns that calls to the night nursing team were undertaken by a healthcare assistant as opposed to a registered nurse, warning that the seriousness or deterioration of a patient’s condition could be missed.
The CQC visited the trust in April to inspect the quality of four mental health core services and two community services, before returning in June to look at management and leadership.
Following the visits the trust has been rated “outstanding” overall for the quality of its services and was also rated “outstanding” for being caring and well-led. The trust was rated “good” for being safe, effective and responsive.
“Staff hard work is making a real difference to the lives of people using the services”
Dr Paul Lelliott
The trust has seen its rating steadily improve over a relatively short period of time from “requirement improvement” in 2015, to “good” at the start of 2018 and now reaching “outstanding”.
Chief executive at the trust, Eugine Yafele, said the achievement was all down to the trust’s committed staff.
“This is a fantastic achievement, and a testament to our staff’s hard work, dedication and relentless focus on quality improvement over the past few years,” he said.
“Organisations do not provide outstanding care – people do,” he added. “Therefore, this rating reflects our collective effort and determination to deliver the very best outcomes and experiences for our patients, their families and friends.”
However, Mr Yafele said it had not become complacent.
“We know we can always improve what we do and, ultimately, would want to see all our services rated as outstanding,” he said. “That is our next challenge, and we are fully committed to meeting it.”
CQC deputy chief inspector of hospitals and lead for mental health, Dr Paul Lelliott, said the trust had ”worked steadily” to improve the quality of its service since 2015.
“Their determination to develop a culture of continuous improvement has significantly improved the care they provide for their patients,” he said.
He described the achievement as a “credit to all of the trust’s staff”.
“Their hard work is making a real difference to the lives of people using the services,” said Dr Lelliott.