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Patients are getting ‘outstanding’ community health care in Norfolk, say watchdogs

PUBLISHED: 11:54 25 June 2018 | UPDATED: 11:54 25 June 2018

Norfolk Community Health and Care NHS Trust  staff celebrate their outstanding rating. Pic: NCH&C NHS Trust.

Norfolk Community Health and Care NHS Trust staff celebrate their outstanding rating. Pic: NCH&C NHS Trust.

NCH&C NHS Trust

Patients are getting “outstanding” quality from the NHS trust which provides community health and care services to children and adults across Norfolk, watchdogs have said.

Norfolk Community Health and Care NHS Trust (NCH&C) is the first standalone NHS community trust in England to get the rating.

Inspectors from the Care Quality Commission (CQC) visited the trust in February and March to assess three of its services.

They assessed community health inpatient services; community health services for adults and community health services for children, young people and families and rated all as good. Inspectors also looked at leadership and how the trust uses its resources.

They rated the service as outstanding overall, with caring and leadership outstanding.

Safety, effectiveness and responsiveness were rated as good.

Staff were praised for their care and consideration.

Of community inpatient services, inspectors said: “All multidisciplinary staff were observed to be courteous, professional and kind when interacting with patients. Patient feedback was consistently positive.”

Strong collaboration, team working and support across services was highlighted, with improved waiting times across a number of services.

On the leadership, inspectors said: “We found that there was compassionate, inclusive and effective leadership at all levels. Senior leaders had a deep understanding of issues, challenges and priorities in their service and beyond.”

Anna Morgan, director of nursing and quality at NCH&C, said: “We are absolutely thrilled by the result of this report. To be rated as outstanding is a huge achievement.

“Given the importance of community services in supporting children and families to get the best start in life, caring for the elderly and helping people maintain their independence for as long as possible - this is great news.

“I would like to take this opportunity to thank staff whose care and dedication has made this possible.”

Professor Ted Baker, chief inspector of hospitals, said: “We were extremely pleased with the care we found at Norfolk Community Health and Care NHS Trust. There were many notable examples of outstanding practice.

“The executive team were a stable cohesive team, focused on patient safety and quality of care. They were passionate leaders with clear strategic vision and commitment to staff engagement.

“Each board meeting commenced with a patient story, to set the tone of the meeting and ended with a staff presentation. This meant the board were fully focused on both patients and staff experience.

“In addition, we saw examples where patients had become members of steering groups and attended staff mandatory training days to provide patient perspectives to staff.

“On all the units we visited, staff were caring and compassionate towards patients. Staff treated patients with kindness, dignity and respect. We found that staff were sensitive to the needs of the patients and their families.

“We did, however, identify a small number of areas, for example responsiveness in the community health services for children and young people, where the trust could make some improvements.

“Also, we told the trust that it must take action to bring services into line with legal requirements within the community health inpatients service.

“Overwhelmingly, however, we found a trust that provides excellent care during our inspection. The trust board and all staff working at the trust are to be congratulated for their hard work in achieving such high standards across its services.”

The report comes just days after the CQC rated the Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital as inadequate.

What does Norfolk Community Health and Care NHS Trust do?

The trust provides services including community hospitals, community dentistry, services for children, young people and families, therapies, community nursing, end of life care and specialist nursing services.

It employs 2,230 staff, of which 80pc are clinicians; health professionals such as nurses, doctors, dentists and physiotherapists.

It manages seven community hospitals, including Norwich Community Hospital at Bowthorpe, and numerous clinics and health centres, and works from GP surgeries.

Services include community nursing; therapies and rehabilitation, respite care and specialist nursing services; outpatient and health centre clinics for people with a variety of health conditions.

Those include neurological conditions, lymphoedema, dermatology, stroke, diabetes, epilepsy, musculoskeletal disorders, podiatry and tuberculosis.

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