Chief Nurse Esther Kirby’s CQC Blog 2: How safe are our services?

Esther blog photoWhen I first read that overall the CQC had rated the safety of our services as requires improvement I admit that I felt disappointed as I know how hard everyone works to deliver the highest quality of care.

The one thing we all need to be sure of is the safety of the services we provide. For the CQC, this means that people are protected from any kind of abuse and avoidable harm.

Then, I went on to read the report in more detail and saw that in the safety domain half of the services inspected were rated as good, including those services with the largest staffing groups.

This should give us heart that we have, in most areas of our business, got people and processes in place to support the delivery of safe services for patients.

I know that you will always strive to deliver the best care in the safest way possible and as an employer we have a duty to ensure your safety and health as well as that of our patients.

Positive improvements

Where the CQC identified that we could improve, I am pleased to report that we have been able to respond to many of the CQC’s findings in a positive way.

These include appointing new leads for medicines management and end of life care which will help us refresh and review our policy and strategy to ensure they are appropriate for our trust and our models of care.

There is always more that we can do and we will be reviewing the reports to ensure we have completed all the essential actions taken so far and put in place further plans for the areas of practice that we need to improve.


It is good that the CQC inspectors reported that they gained a strong sense of a culture of openness within the trust, particularly with regard to the reporting and investigation of incidents which has led to improvements and changes in our practice.

I would urge you to build on this culture by continuing to report incidents or near misses.

This is the only way we will gain the necessary information to help us improve and prevent avoidable harm to our staff and our patients.

We are, after all, a rapidly changing organisation and still have work to do to ensure that we have consistent practice, standards and safeguards across the board.

Inspectors also commented positively on our infection control practice.


While staffing levels had improved across the majority of services, since the CQC’s 2014 inspection, I know we haven’t got this right in all areas.

I feel confident that we can address all the issues raised but would urge any staff who feel that their own or their patients’ safety is compromised to contact their manager or senior manager in the first instance.

Please also remember that you can contact me if you cannot find a local resolution to the issue.

Best wishes,

Esther Kirby
Chief Nurse/Director for Quality