Professor Ted Baker

chief inspector of hospitals
Care Quality Commission

Demand on health and social care services continues to mount as we see more and more patients with increasingly complex needs. This puts significant pressure on healthcare staff and makes it harder to ensure that patients receive consistently good care all of the time. Despite the continuing challenges that providers face, CQC has seen many NHS trusts not only maintain standards but take active steps to improve.

 

We have seen trusts take action to drive up quality, address safety concerns and improve patient care. A total of 24 trusts previously subject to special measures have now come out of the regime as a result of the progress CQC has found on re-inspection. This is despite continuing challenges with regards to demand, workforce and funding, and demonstrates the commendable efforts of staff, leaders and carers in managing such pressures.

 

Our inspections continue to show how good leadership, effective staff engagement, and a strong organisational culture that embraces learning are key attributes in those trusts that have improved their CQC rating. We also know that trusts can use our inspection reports as a catalyst for change, identifying problems and helping trusts focus their improvement plans.

 

Our report on quality improvement in NHS trusts showed that a culture of improvement driven by trust leadership can support staff to make real differences to patient care. It is important to share the positive achievements that many hospital trusts have made to encourage and inspire others in their own improvement journey.

 

Real change doesn’t happen overnight and is down to the hard work of staff in each organisation, but as this welcome report from NHS Providers shows, it can be done - even in the most challenging of circumstances.

 

Building on our own Driving improvement reports, which looked at how several acute and mental health trusts made major improvements to the quality of care and improved their CQC rating, this report explores how a number of trusts have embarked on their own unique improvement journey. Although the particular issues facing each trust are different and the approaches taken vary, collectively their stories demonstrate how thoughtful leadership and a positive open culture are crucial drivers of change.