Homerton University Hospital Foundation Trust has received a ‘good’ rating from the Care Quality Commission, according to an inspection report.
Inspectors also found found “no evidence” to support widely reported allegations of unsafe care made by a group of midwives at the trust.
The trust’s accident and emergency department was rated ‘outstanding’, the first A&E to be given this rating under the CQC new ratings system.
According to the report, the CQC had been in contact with a group of midwives at the trust since 2012 who had made “allegations of racism and poor leadership not only of the maternity services but of the trust as a whole. They had also raised allegations about the trust covering up avoidable deaths of newborn babies”.
Inspectors “found no evidence to support allegations of racism or poor leadership,” the report adds.
Staff told inspectors that they felt valued and enjoyed working in the hospital while patients said they felt cared for and had faith in the staff looking after them.
The hospital had plans in place to reduce the number of people attending A&E. This included the role of a non-clinical ‘navigator’, who helped patients attending its Primary Urgent Care Centre to register with GP, avoiding the need to attend A&E.
Inspectors did however find that there was sometimes a shortage of staff on the medical wards. The trust should also takes steps to ensure all patients and their relatives were involved in ‘do not attempt cardiopulmonary resuscitation’ decisions.
CQC’s chief inspector of hospitals, Professor Sir Mike Richards, said: “We identified a great deal of good practice at Homerton University Hospital – most notably in the A&E, the first to be rated as Outstanding after one of our new style inspections.
“I am sure that other hospitals might benefit by looking at what this trust is doing to try to reduce A&E attendances when people would be better off receiving treatment or care within the community.
“Despite our findings being generally positive, there were some areas in which we’ve told the trust it must make some changes – most notably in ensuring there are always enough staff on duty on the medical wards. The trust has told us they will take action – and we’ll return in due course to check that these changes have been made.”
Trust chief executive Tracey Fletcher said: “The recognition of the services provided by our A&E team, and its achievement in being one of the first departments to be rated as ‘outstanding’, is particularly pleasing.”