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Significant progress at Whipps Cross and The Royal London hospitals

15 December 2016

The quality of care at Whipps Cross and The Royal London hospitals is getting better. That’s the clear message from reports published today by the Care Quality Commission following inspections in July.

Significant progress in a number of areas is highlighted at both hospitals, with quality ratings increasing in 28 indicators. 

This is reflected in an improvement of The Royal London Hospital's overall rating from inadequate to requires improvement, while the hospital’s critical care services are rated ‘outstanding’ in the caring domain - the highest rating possible.  

The CQC has maintained the overall rating of Whipps Cross Hospital as inadequate, but inspectors recognised the significant improvement since their last visit with one-third of the indicators rated as “good” and more than half of all the areas inspected having improved their rating.    

Alwen Williams, Chief Executive of Barts Health NHS Trust, said: 

These reports make clear that the quality of care for patients at our hospitals is getting better all the time — Alwen Williams, Chief Executive of Barts Health NHS Trust

“These reports make clear that the quality of care for patients at our hospitals is getting better all the time. I’m very grateful for the dedication and passion our staff show every day and night.

"We still have much to do and we must tackle all the areas where we are still letting our patients down, as well as taking inspiration from where we are doing well. I am confident that Barts Health is now on the right track and with the support of our partners and our committed workforce we will continue to improve."

The CQC recognise both hospitals’ staff as caring and compassionate, with most patients and relatives satisfied with the support they receive. Inspectors noted tangible improvements in safety and effectiveness at Whipps Cross Hospital and several areas of outstanding practice at The Royal London Hospital. The hospitals also have some of the lowest hospital mortality figures anywhere in the UK.

Barts Health will leave no stone unturned to further improve care. Since inspectors visited staff took immediate action to swiftly address specific concerns raised by the CQC, while stepping up the pace of a raft of improvements that were already in the pipeline. Much has improved since inspectors visited five months ago. The following developments are understandably not included in the reports:

The Trust opened two new state-of-the-art operating theatres that will improve surgery at Whipps Cross Hospital. They provide more modern facilities in which better care can be provided. 

Children needing urgent care are assessed and treated faster at Whipps Cross Hospital after a new paediatric clinical decisions unit opened. This also reduces pressure on the A&E. 

The Royal London Hospital opened its new midwife-led maternity centre in response to women’s wishes, offering those with low-risk pregnancies best practice care in private ensuite rooms where partners can stay overnight.

Babies born at The Royal London Hospital are now safer after the Trust made identification wristbands more comfortable and a better fit, in response to mothers’ feedback. 

275 more permanent doctors and nurses have been employed across the Trust since the end of July.

Steve Russell, Executive Managing Director for NHS Improvement (London), said:

“Staff at Whipps Cross and the Royal London hospitals have started to make significant and much-needed improvements to the services they deliver to patients from east London and the surrounding area. Barts Health NHS Trust is the biggest NHS trust in England, and the new team took on a Herculean task when they committed to turning it round. Although there clearly remains some way to go, the leadership team and staff throughout the trust have established a strong foundation on which to build future improvements for patients and their families.

“There has been an exceptional amount of hard work by clinical and support staff, who have been willing to challenge themselves and each other to deliver root and branch improvement in the care they provide, and this is recognised in today’s reports by an improved quality rating in more than two dozen indicators. With support from NHS Improvement they will continue to do so.

“At this point on the improvement journey, it is vital that the Barts team – from the board to the bedside – continue to treat patients with care and compassion, and address the remaining issues identified by the CQC and through their own scrutiny of the care they provide. Already retention is improving as staff see genuine progress become the norm, and patients can be confident that the issues identified in the reports published today are already being addressed by the trust, with the full support of NHS Improvement. It is vital that every patient, every day, can count on the highest standard of care, and I am confident that through the hospitals, staff are committed to ensuring this is ‘business as usual’.”

Dr Kathy McLean, Executive Medical Director for NHS Improvement, said:

“Today’s report highlights that significant progress has been made by staff at both Whipps Cross Hospital and the Royal London Hospital. There has been major improvements for patients, including two new state-of-the-art operating theatres, new facilities for mothers giving birth and young children needing urgent care. 

Thanks to strong leadership and fantastically hard working staff, things are finally moving in the right direction — Dr Kathy McLean, Executive Medical Director for NHS Improvement

“Turning around hospitals which have a history of poor performance is a long journey. But thanks to strong leadership and fantastically hard working staff, things are finally moving in the right direction."

Find out more about our progress at The Royal London and Whipps Cross Hospitals

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Barts Health NHS Trust
With a turnover of £1.4 billion and a workforce of around 16,000, Barts Health is the largest NHS trust in the country, and one of Britain’s leading healthcare providers. The Trust’s five hospitals – St Bartholomew’s Hospital in the City, including the Barts Heart Centre, The Royal London Hospital in Whitechapel, Newham University Hospital in Plaistow, Whipps Cross University Hospital in Leytonstone and Mile End – deliver high quality compassionate care to the 2.5 million people of East London and beyond.


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