PERFORMANCE: Plymouth Hospitals Trust has satisfied Care Quality Commission inspectors it is now meeting three essential standards following a highly critical report of its surgical procedures earlier this year.

Inspectors first visited in February in response to concerns raised by NHS South West, after the trust reported six never events in six months. Inspectors found the trust was not always using the World Health Organization Surgical Safety Checklist and said there was a culture of “reacting to problems, rather than monitoring and preventing them”.

It identifed the trus as in breach of the following three essential standards:

  • People should get safe and appropriate care that meets their needs and supports their rights
  • Staff should be properly trained and supervised, and have the chance to develop and improve their skills 
  • The service should have quality checking systems to manage risks and assure the health, welfare and safety of people who receive care

The CQC raised the concerns with the chief executive immediately, requiring the trust to address the urgent safety issue straight away, to give weekly progress reports, and to provide plans showing how it would achieve full compliance with all three standards. 

Giving a progress report this week, Bernadette Hanney, acting regional director of CQC in the South West, said: “On our first inspection, it was a matter of some concern that even after the series of Never Events at Derriford – and despite the presence of our inspectors – the recognised surgical safety checks were not being carried out properly within some operating theatres.

 “Our inspection this week has shown a real improvement. The trust has told us that the surgical safety list is more detailed and is now a mandatory part of the process. Inspectors found that clinical staff appeared to be more aware of the need to avoid serious preventable incidents.”