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High Quality Care Praised by Health Regulator

Thursday, February 14, 2013

Patients at Leighton Hospital in Crewe are continuing to receive high quality care and treatment, following a routine unannounced inspection by the national regulator of health and social care.

In December 2012, the Care Quality Commission (CQC) carried out an unannounced visit to the hospital to check that five of their essential standards of quality and safety were being met for all patients. During the visit, the inspectors observed how people were being cared for and spoke to staff, patients, their carers and family members.

During the visit, all the patients that they spoke with were complimentary about the care that they were being given. One said that the “service is good, the nurses are good and they can’t do enough for you. They keep checking to make sure you are alright”, with another adding that the staff were “a credit to their profession.” Further patient comments described staff as being “like angels” and that the hospital was “a wonderful place; they take care of me and care about me.”

The five specific targets being inspected, as well as the CQC’s comments, are summarised as follows:

  • Care and welfare of people who use services – When the inspectors observed care on the wards they saw that patients were treated properly. The patients also said that they were treated with dignity and respect.
  • Cooperating with other providers – On examining a sample of patients’ records, they found that they were properly assessed and planned to the needs of the patients on the wards. The CQC also saw that arrangements for discharges were done in conjunction with staff from the local authority’s other NHS trusts and voluntary bodies.
  • Safeguarding people who use services from abuse – The CQC discussed the arrangements for the safeguarding of vulnerable adults and, while the Trust met the requirements of regulations, it was noted that there were plans to further improve training for staff.
  • Assessing and monitoring the quality of service provision – The inspectors asked about the Trust’s arrangements for monitoring its quality of care through ward-level audits and examination of mortality figures, and found that they were working well.
  • Management of medicines – When looking at the management of drugs, the CQC noted that patient medication reviews were carried out regularly, that medicines were stored safely, and that regular audits help to identify areas of improvement. The inspectors also found that appropriate arrangements were in place for the recording of medicines, although the use of the current coding system by staff requires slight improvements. This was judged to be a minor issue by the inspectors, meaning that the impact on patient safety was “not significant” and could be “resolved quickly.”


Following the publication of the report, the CQC were invited to attend the Trust’s Council of Governors meeting in January to discuss their role and how they will work with the Governing Council in future. During the meeting, the CQC praised Mid Cheshire Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust (MCHFT), which runs Leighton Hospital, for its transparency, saying that if there was an incident occurring at one of the Trust’s hospitals, a senior member of staff would inform the CQC immediately to discuss the issue and the actions the Trust had taken. They also said that this level of transparency was apparent in the Trust’s own reporting and monitoring mechanisms.

Julie Smith, Director of Nursing and Quality at MCHFT, said: “We are pleased that the CQC’s recent unannounced visit reflects the high standard of care that we strive to provide for all of our patients, and that our transparency and openness has been recognised.

“Last year we were named as the most improved Trust in the country, as well as being named as one of the top 40 hospitals, and the latest CQC findings reiterate our continuous progress in enhancing patient care and safety.”