• Trust jumps two ratings following CQC inspection
  • Staff praised throughout report, from frontline to the board
  • Inspectors highlighted dementia care and staff’s freedom to speak up

An acute trust in London has been rated “outstanding” by the Care Quality Commission, after previously being rated as “requires improvement”.

The regulator has particularly praised Kingston Hospital Foundation Trust for encouraging staff to be open and honest about problems.

It is the first acute trust in London to be rated outstanding for overall quality and for leadership.

The inspectors also rated the trust as outstanding for caring, following the visit in May and June this year.

The CQC report praised the trust’s staff extensively, from the frontline to the board and executive team.

It said staff were extremely caring and compassionate – highlighting this as outstanding practice. They also said they “had the skills, knowledge and experience to deliver effective care and treatment”.

The inspectors praised the trust for ensuring there were systems in place that meant frontline staff could raise problems with the board, either through the management chain or the freedom to speak up guardian.

This created an environment where staff knew they needed to “raise and record safety incidents, concerns and near misses”, so the trust learnt lessons and improved systems.

Staff said they were encouraged to be open and honest about problems and were confident “any issues in performance and behaviour would be addressed appropriately”.

The trust was also praised for placing emphasis on meeting the needs of people living with dementia, including the emergency department staff who designed five new “dementia friendly cubicles”.

There was some criticism, however. This included a shortage of middle grade doctors and poor design of some outpatient clinics, including the fracture and orthopaedic clinic, which patients had to walk down “long convoluted corridors” to get to.

The inspectors listed 15 points that should be addressed by the trust, including hiring more middle grade doctors for the ED and to consider ways to reduce the average length of stay for medical elective patients.

The trust’s chief executive, Ann Radmore, said: “We are absolutely delighted with the findings.

“Two years ago, in our last inspection, we were rated as requires improvement. So to have gone from that to outstanding is a clear indication of what a united workforce with a common goal can do.”

The previous inspection took place in January 2016.