Chief Nurse Esther Kirby’s CQC Blog 1: Care & compassion

Esther blog photoYour caring and compassion

As the trust’s Director of Quality you won’t be surprised to learn that I’ve spent many hours reading and re-reading the CQC’s reports.

I know some of you will read the specific reports relating to your service and many of you will have time only to read the summary report, so I wanted to share some of my thoughts with you over the week.

The overall rating for the Trust from this inspection is requires improvement but that certainly doesn’t mean that we should be downbeat.

Indeed the introduction to the CQC’s Quality Report identifies many areas where we have improved since their last inspection visit in 2014.

Of course, we need to be realistic. From the staff briefing, and if you’ve had chance to read the full reports, you will see that the CQC identifies areas where we clearly need to improve, but we’ve already resolved many of the issues they raised.

My most recent review of the action plans following the inspection, found a lot of green where we’ve implemented the action fully and a reassuring number of amber ratings, where we are on with addressing the issues raised and have a clear plan with a defined date for completion.

This should give us all, plus the CQC, our commissioners and partners, a high degree of reassurance that we are moving in the right direction.

At the heart of the CQC report are the five domains.

The CQC inspected eight services and compared each against their five domains, to assess whether we are: safe, effective, caring, responsive and well-led.

This means we are rated across 40 domains and the CQC found that we were outstanding in 1, good in 27 and required improvement in 12 domains.

I want to spend the next week or so looking at each domain in turn.

Are our services caring?

There is much to be positive about and nothing more so than how the CQC inspectors view the care and compassion provided to patients by our staff.

It didn’t surprise me that they judged us to be good right across the caring domain, with the exception of inpatients where we were rated as nothing less than outstanding!

When I go out and visit teams I am struck by the caring and compassion that is provided everyday – often in the most challenging and emotionally difficult circumstances.

Providing the human touch is often what makes the difference to patients and families and changes their perception of the care they receive from good to great.

In the CQC’s eyes to be caring means involving patients in their care and treating people with compassion, kindness, dignity and respect.

Here are a few stand out points from the report for me:

  • During our inspection we gathered many examples of instances of staff going the extra mile for their patients which demonstrated their commitment and a desire to give the very best care to their patients.
  • We were told all the nursing staff visiting patients’ homes were ‘brilliant’, ‘wonderful’ and ‘superb’
  • In all services, we were told staff involved patients and carers in planning and where possible delivering their care and treatment
  • We observed staff interacting with children and their families in a caring and respectful manner
  • Patient leaflets were available in easy read format, for learning disability patients to go through with staff when needed
  • Corridors were marked with ‘landmarks’ to measure distance and as such patients’ progress against their mobility targets. For example “we reached Paris today, we are aiming to reach New York by the end of next week”, enabling patients to see tangible results and take ownership of their own rehabilitation.
  • In community End of Life services one patient said “she is here for me, I can ask anything and really appreciate her coming, she understands what is happening and I can ask her anything, I have no fear, I have confidence in her that she’s not hiding anything from me.”
These are just a small sample of the inspectors’ findings.
There are many, many more and I hope you will feel as proud as I do of the impression you gave to the CQC this summer.

A big thank you from myself and the Board. Keep on with the great work that you do and never underestimate the importance of your caring and compassion.

I will leave you will this short quote as food for thought:

“The simple act of caring is heroic” – Edward Albert, Actor.

Best wishes,

Esther Kirby
Chief Nurse/Director for Quality