Bishop Auckland's Butterwick Hospice rated 'inadequate' by Care Quality Commission

Inspectors at Butterwick Hospice, in Bishop Auckland, found the leadership was not fully understanding the issues the service faced Credit: ITV News Tyne Tees

A hospice in Bishop Auckland has been rated 'inadequate' by a health watchdog following an inspection.

The Butterwick Hospice, on Woodhouse Lane, has fallen from its previous overall rating of 'requires improvement' to 'inadequate' following an inspection by the Care Quality Commission (CQC).

It comes as another facility in Stockton, also run by the same operator, Butterwick Limited, had its rating increased from 'inadequate' to 'requires improvement'.

The hospice in Bishop Auckland offers services including end of life care and has now been told to improve in a number of areas. These include being safe, effective and responsive, however, its rating for being caring remained 'good'.

The CQC criticised the leadership of the site and found that not all staff had appropriate training.

Sarah Dronsfield, CQC's head of hospital inspection, said: "We were concerned that the leadership team didn’t fully understand the issues the service faced, and they didn’t have appropriate systems and processes in place to run services which meets patients’ needs.

"We found staff were giving medicine to patients in their own homes without the necessary training which could put people at risk.

"Also, policies to ensure the safe and effective running of the service either lacked detail or were non-existent."

She did however say that staff "treated patients with kindness and compassion and they were passionate about improving the service".

As a result of the CQC's findings, Butterwick Hospice in Bishop Auckland has been served with a warning notice to make improvements to ensure patient safety.

The CQC will continue to monitor the service to check improvements are made and sustained.

In a statement from Butterwick Hospice Care, in response to the report, it acknowledged that it highlighted a number of issues with its palliative homecare service.

The service was 'immediately paused' while the the operator 'created an action plan, redeveloped the service and trained staff'.

Paul Bury, chairman of Butterwick Hospice Care, said: “Although we were disappointed with CQC’s initial findings in February, we are confident that the service that we relaunched in April meets the requirements of the CQC and the needs of our community.”

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Meanwhile, Butterwick House in Stockton-on-Tees has improved its rating from 'inadequate' to 'requires improvement'.

The hospice on Teesside cares for children and young people from Stockton, Middlesbrough and its surrounding areas.

The improvement comes following an unannounced inspection after the service was rated 'inadequate' last year.

It remains rated 'good' for being caring.

In relation to the facility's improved rating, Ms Dronsfield said: “I am pleased leaders at Butterwick House have improved their management of the service since we last inspected in September.

“Feedback from friends and family about the care given to their child was overwhelmingly positive, with some describing staff as being just like family.

“The service has demonstrated a commitment to continuous improvement, and we continue to monitor the service to ensure improvements are made and fully embedded.”

In response to the improved rating, Mr Bury said: “As a small charity we are committed to further improving our services as we understand how important our care is for children and their families in our area. Overall, I am delighted that all our hard work and level of care has been acknowledged.”

Butterwick Hospice Care said it would continue to work closely with the CQC to improve its services.