Community health trust still 'requires improvement'

The NHS trust that provides community health services in St Helens has been told it requires improvement
The NHS trust that provides community health services in St Helens has been told it requires improvement
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The NHS trust that provides community health services in St Helens has been told it “requires improvement” – almost two years on from being ordered to improve.

Bridgewater Community Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust was told by the Care Quality Commission (CQC) that it needed to improve in February 2017.

The trust – which provides a range of community services in St Helens, Warrington, Wigan, Halton, Oldham and Bolton – was inspected again throughout September of this year.

Following the inspection, the trust was rated good in the effective, caring and responsive categories, while requiring improving in the safe and well-led categories.

The CQC issued an overall rating of ‘requires improvement’ and has ordered the trust to take action in a number of areas.

“The trust had made changes in response to the actions identified at our last inspection in 2016,” the report said.

“Each of the services inspected showed improvement but there remained areas of improvement in community health services for children, young people and families.”

The care watchdog said there was an improving culture across the organisation as well as a recognition that there is still more work to do.

The CQC said training and knowledge of the recognition and treatment of sepsis was not yet embedded in children’s services, although work was underway to address this.

Additionally, the care watchdog noted that there were some variances in the way patient records were kept across the boroughs in community adult and children’s services.

Overall, the CQC said care was provided safely by staff across the services and have the right skills and knowledge to safeguard vulnerable people from abuse.

However, systems for identifying risks, planning to eliminate or reduce them, and coping with both the expected and unexpected were also less developed in children services.

The report said that managers across the services promoted a positive culture that supported and valued staff, creating a sense of common purpose based on shared values.

Managerial staff in children’s services were not always able to explain how their work aligned to the service strategy, the report said.

The care watchdog noted that the trust has experienced high levels of turnover at executive level since 2017 but said the calibre of the trust’s executive team was good.

Colin Scales, chief executive of Bridgewater Community Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust, said the report shows that “significant improvement” has been made.

Mr Scales said: “It is important to understand that although the overall rating at trust level remains unchanged, the detail of the report shows significant improvement since the last inspection in 2016 with six of the eight service areas inspected being rated as good.

“Our midwifery, end of life and community dental services all achieved an improved rating of good from the last inspection and our adult community and sexual health services both retained their good rating, meaning that overall our core services are rated as good.

“In addition to more services being rated as good, we are also particularly proud of the glowing reflection of our staff and the service they provide to patients which is a key theme throughout the report.

“We will be taking time to digest the final report and feel confident that the report is evidence that we have made significant improvements for patients.”