North Tees and Hartlepool NHS Foundation Trust gets a middle grade by health watchdogs

Paul Garvin
Paul Garvin

A HOSPITAL trust has been graded by a health watchdog over its ability to offer safe and good quality care to patients.

North Tees and Hartlepool NHS Foundation Trust was scored in “band four” by the Care Quality Commission (CQC) in its regulation of England’s 161 trusts – band one being the highest risk of failure, and band six being the lowest risk.

Yesterday at the trust’s board of director’s meeting at the University Hospital of North Tees, in Stockton, chairman Pail Garvin said he was pleased with the organisation’s ranking.

But he said the trust would continue to aim for the best grade possible.

He told the meeting: “Figures have been released by the CQC and we have been put in band four, one being the worst and six being the best.

“We would hope to be in a slightly higher band, but band four is not a bad place to be.

“However, we will strive to be in band six, and will continue with our hard work and planning in order that we can continue to better ourselves and achieve a better grading for our patients and staff.”

Analysis by the CQC found 44 trusts had the most serious level of concern, including higher than expected death rates across their hospitals.

Some trusts were flagged for incidents resulting in harm to patients while others scored low on staff or patient satisfaction. Several came to attention due to whistle-blowing staff, while others had a higher than expected death rate among patients who should be low risk.

The regulator is using the data - called intelligent monitoring - to inform its new inspection regime of all NHS trusts by December 2015.

Following these detailed inspections, trusts will be given Ofsted-style school ratings.

These can be “outstanding”, “good”, “requires improvement” and “inadequate”.

The CQC’s chief inspector of hospitals, Professor Sir Mike Richards, said the grading will enable action to be taken to improve all hospitals.

He said: “As a doctor, I liken intelligent monitoring to a screening test. Our inspection combined with intelligent monitoring provides the diagnosis, following which we make a judgment, which will in turn lead to action. Our intelligent monitoring helps to give us a good picture of risk within trusts, showing us where we need to focus our inspections. We aim to publish results at regular intervals.”