1. ITV Report

Colchester Hospital to be removed from special measures

Chief Inspector of Hospitals Prof Ted Baker Credit: ITV News Anglia

Standards at Colchester Hospital have improved so much that England's Chief Inspector of Hospitals has recommended it is taken out of special measures following a Care Quality Commission inspection.

The hospital has been rated as 'good' in the majority of areas by the CQC. Staff have been told that they have significantly improved the care they are providing.

The inspection took place in July 2017 and now the Colchester Hospital University NHS Foundation Trust is rated as Requires Improvement overall, as well as for whether services are safe and responsive. It is also rated as Good for whether services are effective, caring and well-led.

Colchester Hospital is to be removed from special measures Credit: ITV News Anglia

"I am very pleased to be able to recommend that Colchester Hospital University NHS Foundation trust exits special measures. When we returned to conduct our inspection we found considerable improvements had taken place. We found a strong leadership team, which engaged positively with a staff that was committed to ensuring change took place and we witnessed significant improvements across all of the trust's services."

– Professor Ted Baker, The Chief Inspector of Hospitals
Hospital was originally placed in special measures.

"This is a significant achievement and I would like to personally thank our staff for everything they've done to improve the care we provide. We have had excellent support from our partners in the health and social care system locally as well as from the NHS in the region and I am very grateful for that.

– Chief Executive Nick Hulme

Following the previous inspection in 2016 fifteen areas were rated 'inadequate', now in 2017 there are none, the report found.

Rating in every area for 'end of life care'.
The Trust now has a clear direction to go in to make more improvements Credit: ITV News Anglia

"We know we still have challenges ahead and improvements to make. However, I think we've shown that staff here at Colchester really can do it and we have a strong platform now for continued quality improvement. The immediate focus for the Trust is to manage our operational performance going into what will undoubtedly be a tough winter."

– David White, Trust Chair

"This is fantastic news for the people of Colchester and north east Essex and a turning point in the Trust's recent history."

– Colchester MP Will Quince MP, Con

Inspectors found a number of areas of outstanding practice at the trust:

  • The Trust has the only dedicated children's transition team in the region which other Trusts sought advice from.
  • The transition team worked with other teams to meet complex needs of patients at the age of transitioning to other services.
  • The neonatal unit was piloting a 'discharge passport' to empower parent involvement for discharge of babies.

The CQC has told the Trust it needs to make the following improvements:

  • Nursing and medical staff must complete all safeguarding and mandatory training, including basic life support.
  • All equipment must be maintained and fit for purpose.
  • Initial assessments within the emergency department must be undertaken and documented to maintain an accurate clinical record.
  • To ensure access to a designated mental health assessment room.
  • Action to be taken to ensure patients are clinically risk assessed as safe to wait for outpatient appointments.
  • Medical records must contain risk assessments.
  • Do not attempt cardiopulmonary resuscitation decisions must be taken in line with national guidance.
  • Layout of paediatric emergency department must ensure patient safety.
  • Effective governance and risk management framework for emergency department.
  • Patients dignity to be protected in X-ray and risk assessments for unnecessary exposure to radiation.

"On behalf of the CCG, I would like to congratulate all the staff and the leadership team for all their efforts. We were particularly pleased to see recognition that inspectors had seen many examples of managers and senior staff who were actively engaged in seeking solutions to further improve levels of care for patients. "

– Sam Hepplewhite, Chief Officer at the North East Essex CCG

The Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt, with the Colchester MP Will Quince by his side, posted his reaction on Twitter.