PERFORMANCE: The first non-profit provider of NHS services to be examined under the Care Quality Commission’s new inspection regime has been rated ‘good’.

Peninsula Community Health, which provides community services across Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly, was praised for its performance, particularly in light of the difficult financial situation when it launched in 2011.

Lizard Cornwall

Peninsula’s community services contract runs until March 2016

Peninsula Community Health was created as a community interest company after services were spun out of the NHS as part of the Transforming Community Services initiative, inheriting debts from its former primary care trust.

The CQC inspectors found good safe care was provided across community inpatient, adult, urgent care, and children and young people’s services.

The provider’s end of life care services were rated “requires improvement” in relation to safety.

Inspectors said that improvements are also needed in the way that minor injury units are managed.

Services were found to be effective, while the use of technology to enable patients to monitor their conditions was highlighted for its positive impact on them being able to remain at home.

Inspectors noted that despite its financial challenges and strong opposition to its creation from staff and the public, Peninsula’s leaders were highly visible and trusted by care staff.

Leaders were praised for managing the risks brought by uncertainty around the organisation’s future services. Its current community services contract with Kernow Clinical Commissioning Group is due to end on March 2016.

Commissioners have not announced whether they will re-procure the contract. A CCG spokeswoman told HSJ: “We’re still in discussions with Peninsula Community Health”. 

Children’s bowel and bladder services were singled out for praise for the “good” systems in place for multidisciplinary working between staff and other agencies.

The team assessed the organisation’s community hospital wards, minor injuries units and outpatient clinics, and accompanied district nursing teams on visits to patients’ homes.

Chief inspector of hospitals Sir Mike Richards, said: “I recognise that as a not-for-profit company operating at the heart of the NHS, Peninsula Community Health has faced particular challenges since it was set up four years ago. 

“Despite all of this, we found a vibrant culture and a positive can-do attitude that existed at all levels and was acknowledged by its partners.  

“We did find some areas for improvement, but given the quality and safety of services that are being delivered, Peninsula Community Health fully deserves its overall rating of ‘good’.”

Peninsula chief executive Steve Jenkin said: “We are delighted that through the CQC report we have been able to demonstrate the value of the NHS community health services that are provided for Cornwall by our 2,104 staff, across our 16 registered sites, including 14 hospitals, through our community teams. 

He added: “We know there are no grounds for complacency – continuous improvement and development are our targets. We believe that the CQC report will show the value of the well led, effective, caring and responsive services Peninsula Community Health and its members provide for the people of Cornwall.”