• Wye Valley recommended to leave special measures
  • Trust rated requires improvement overall, with end of life care and critical care singled out for praise
  • Trust told to improve performance against key waiting time targets

A small acute trust with longstanding financial and performance problems is to come out of the special measures regime following significant improvements in care.

NHS Improvement has today confirmed that Wye Valley Trust will exit special measures following a recommendation from the Care Quality Commission’s chief inspector of hospitals.

Sir Mike Richards

Sir Mike Richards

Sir Mike Richards: ‘Morale had significantly improved and there was a sense of pride amongst staff’

The trust is now rated by the CQC as requires improvement overall. It had been rated inadequate since October 2014.

In the caring domain Wye Valley was rated good, but it is still rated inadequate for responsiveness. Critical and end of life care were also rated good.

Last week HSJ revealed Wye Valley is entering into a “hospital chain” led by South Warwickshire Foundation Trust.

Wye Valley was placed in special measures in October 2014 after the inadequate rating. It was reinspected in September 2015 and found to be inadequate again. However, an inspection last July found improvements had been made.

In its latest inspection, the regulator found that the development by trust leaders of a strategic vision was seen to be making a difference.

Inspectors found examples of outstanding practice, including days out for children and young people who were long term patients; an improved pathway involving more home care and remote monitoring for patients needing ventilators; and an epilepsy clinic developed with input from a patient.

However, the trust has been told it must make improvements on access to services including surgery, gynaecology and outpatient appointments, “with the aim of meeting trust and national targets”.

The CQC also told the trust to ensure staff had their mandatory training, to continue to take action on waiting times, and assess and monitor the risk to patients on the waiting list.

The trust was also told it should ensure effective oversight of incident reporting and management, particularly in children and young people’s services.

Chief inspector of hospitals Professor Sir Mike Richards said: “There clearly remain areas where further work is needed, in particular with regard to the trust’s responsiveness in accident and emergency, bed occupancy concerns and referral to treatment times, but we found considerable and positive change had taken place.

“Morale had significantly improved and there was a sense of pride amongst staff towards working in the hospital who felt respected and valued.

“The trust’s staff and leadership should be proud of their achievement so far and they know what to do now to ensure those changes takes place. We will continue to monitor the trust and this will include further inspections.”

NHS Improvement delivery and improvement director Jeffrey Worrall said: “Today’s news shows just how far the trust has come and recognises the hard work of staff at all levels of the organisation.

“We have to make sure that the trust can build on the excellent progress that’s been made in improving services and ensure the trust is sustainable in the longer term. Strengthening the partnership between Wye Valley and South Warwickshire NHS Foundation Trust is an important step forward.”

Trust chief executive Richard Beeken said: “This outcome is great news for the residents of Herefordshire and those across our borders who use our services. The report confirms that substantial improvements have been made in many areas – and once again our quality of care has been rated as good throughout the trust.

“However, these improvements are only part of the answer to the sustainable delivery of high quality, safe services in the county.”

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