• Former special measures trust has main hospital rated “outstanding”
  • Sherwood Forest Hospitals Foundation Trust remains “good” overall
  • Chief executive says improvements have enabled trust to be “more confident” within system

An acute trust which spent more than two years in special measures has had its main hospital site rated “outstanding” by the Care Quality Commission.

King’s Mill Hospital, which accounts for 90 per cent of services at Sherwood Forest Hospitals Foundation Trust, was previously rated “good”. It is now the only acute hospital in the east Midlands to be rated outstanding, following an inspection at the start of the year.

The overall trust, which also incorporates Newark Hospital, has been rated “good” in the inspection report. It was rated “outstanding” for care and good for safety.

The trust previously spent 27 months in special measures, before being rated “requires improvement” in 2016 and then “good” in 2018.

Richard Mitchell, chief executive, told HSJ the improved rating has enabled the trust to be “more confident” within its health system.

He added: “In the last 18 months we have stepped more into that system role. For system working to be effective you have to have strong foundation stones in place.”

“We have explored the idea of a being an anchor organisation. Some of what we have been doing during [the covid pandemic] evidences the way we are thinking. For example, outreach into the homeless, distributions of food across families and the vulnerable, supplying PPE to primary care, care homes and funeral directors. We want to see ourselves as a collaborative hub.”

He said he was especially pleased with the CQC’s findings on staff engagement, and that services have consistently been rated “good” by the regulator over the last two years.

Ted Baker, the CQC’s chief inspector of hospitals, said: “All the staff at Sherwood Forest Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust should be proud of the care they are providing to people using their services. Inspectors were particularly impressed by how caring staff were across services which is why we rated this area as outstanding.

“Staff understood the trust’s vision and values, and how to apply them in their work. They felt respected, supported and valued, and were focused on the needs of patients.”