Chief inspector of hospitals rates care at West Suffolk NHS Foundation Trust as ‘outstanding’ following inspection

England ‘s Chief Inspector of Hospitals has rated West Suffolk NHS Foundation Trust as ‘outstanding’ following an inspection in November and December.

The trust was rated as ‘good’ following an inspection in March 2016 but on CQC’s return inspectors found a number of improvements had been made resulting in it receiving an ‘outstanding’ rating.

A team of CQC inspectors visited the trust on November 9, 10 and 30 and December 1. West Suffolk NHS Foundation Trust is rated as ‘outstanding’ overall as well as for whether its services are caring, effective and well-led. It is rated as ‘good’ for whether its services are safe and responsive.

Chief Inspector of Hospitals, Professor Ted Baker, said: “We were extremely pleased with the care we found at West Suffolk NHS Foundation Trust. There were many notable examples of outstanding practice.

“The work with the newly appointed Public Health Consultant has given the trust an excellent understanding of the needs of their local population. Staff engagement was exceptional and communication between senior leadership and its teams gave a clear understanding of the vision for the trust, which put the patient at the heart of all they did.

“While we identified a small number of areas, exclusively in outpatients, where the trust could make some improvements, overwhelming 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.”

Inspectors found the trust had sufficient and competent staff to support its service, staff recognised incidents and reported them appropriately, infection control practices were good and medicines were prescribed, recorded and stored appropriately.

Staff were trained in how to recognise and report abuse and knew how to apply this training and inspectors saw how staff truly respected and valued patients as individuals.

End of life care was particularly strong and are each rated as ‘outstanding’ overall and inspectors found a number of outstanding areas of practice. This included a Macmillan education nurse who offered a range of training and engagement across the trust and in the community to raise awareness of end of life issues.

It also found consultant cover had improved and staff said this had made a real impact in meeting the needs of patients at the end of their lives. The trust’s ‘Do Not Attempt Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation’ (DNACPR) process had also seen significant improvements since CQC’s last inspection.

There were some areas where CQC has told the trust it should make improvements. These were confined to the outpatients service and included that inspectors were not assured equipment was regularly tested for electrical safety, there was no obvious information available regarding chaperones, meaning patients didn’t know to ask for one if needed and there was a backlog of patients awaiting outpatient appointments some of whom had been waiting more than 52 weeks for first treatment.

The concerns were fed back to the trust following CQC’s inspection and inspectors will return to check on progress with any improvements. 

Overall, however, CQC found a trust and staff that was caring and dedicated to providing a high standard of care which focused on patient needs.

Full details of the ratings, including a ratings grid, are given in the report published online at

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