LEADERS of the South Tees NHS trust told to improve by the Care Quality Commission (CQC) have responded to the findings of its latest inspection.
Following the CQC inspection in February, the South Tees Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust was rated as requiring improvement.
The trust oversees the James Cook and Friarage hospitals in Middlesbrough and Northallerton where concerns were raised about how patients were being fed and hydrated, how they were being discharged from hospital and over patient risk assessments.
Following today’s publication of the CQC report, senior figures at the trust have outlined what is being done to make the necessary improvements at both hospitals.
Here are their statements in full
Dr Hilary Lloyd, chief nurse at South Tees Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust
“We fully accept the findings detailed in the Care Quality Commission report and our experienced doctors and nurses acted immediately on inspectors’ initial feedback this winter.
“As just one example, we have strengthened our approach to protected mealtimes to make sure ward-based colleagues have the time and space to ensure patients receive the right meal at the right time with the right amount of support, and that food and drink is properly recorded.
“I am pleased that inspectors also found that doctors and nurses worked well together for the benefit of patients across multidisciplinary teams, and treated patients with compassion and kindness.
“The CQC also praised the responsiveness of colleagues at all levels of the organisation, and we are determined to continue making the necessary changes and learning and improving as part of our recovery from the pandemic.
“Despite the success of the vaccination programme and development of new treatment options, Omicron played a big part in this winter being one of the most challenging we have ever experienced, and I want to say an enormous thank you to all our colleagues for again going above and beyond.”
Dr Mike Stewart, chief medical officer at South Tees Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust
“As a clinically-led organisation, safety has been at the heart of our response to Covid-19 and the enormous work of all our teams has helped to achieve some of the lowest hospital infection rates in our region, which has saved lives.
“However, the measures required to maintain strong Covid-19 infection prevention for patients and service users – combined with the impact this winter’s record-breaking community infection rates had on our colleagues, with more than 500 Covid-related absences at the Omicron wave’s peak – meant that not every patient always had the experience we would want.
“It’s also the case that while Omicron caused particular challenges this winter, this pressure has been continuous since July of last year due to the Delta variant.
“As the Omicron wave reduced, we moved quickly to make immediate changes as part of our clinically-led recovery from Covid-19 and will continue to take forward the actions we need to make in response to inspectors’ feedback.”
Andy McDonald, MP for Middlesbrough, said: “I cannot say enough just how much in awe I am of all the staff who have worked at James Cook University Hospital during the most deeply challenging Covid crisis. Their dedication and commitment can never be underestimated.
“It is hardly surprising that given the past few difficult years, the Hospital has not been able to make the progress everyone would like to have seen.
“As demand on services is reduced I would hope to see the measures already put in place continue and more improvements made. No-one wants to see standards fall.
“I will be meeting with the Trust’s Chief Executive shortly and will be discussing the CQC report in detail as we move forward from the inspection.”
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