Staff at a major teaching hospital trust have been praised after NHS inspectors rated more than three-quarters of its services good.
Of the services inspected, the Care Quality Commission rated 26 of the 33 areas at Hull Royal Infirmary and Castle Hill Hospital good.
The trust was rated good for effective, caring and well-led services although safety and responsiveness retained the rating of requiring improvement, pegging the trust back to an overall rating of requiring improvement.
However, seven key areas of patient care improved to good, all five aspects of maternity services at Hull Women and Children’s Hospital and six areas of outpatients were rated good and a further eight areas held onto good ratings secured at a previous inspection.
Hull Royal Infirmary was rated as requiring improvement although seven of its eight services were rated good. Castle Hill’s rating improved to good with three of its five services rated good and two requiring improvement.
No area slipped down the ratings from the last inspection and no areas were rated inadequate during the inspection at the height of this year’s winter pressures.
Chief executive Chris Long said he had hoped the trust would have secured an overall rating of good in this year’s inspection, the fourth since 2014.
“We have missed out on that by a whisker but no one can be in any doubt about the dramatic transformation this organisation and our skilled and dedicated team has achieved,” Mr Long said.
“We have to acknowledge how far we have come and take the time to thank our 8,900 staff for their efforts, unending dedication and commitment to the NHS.
“Not only has the CQC noted significant improvements in culture as well as performance, staff morale and patient care across the organisation, we are now a well-led trust which places patients at the heart of everything we do.
“We know we are still on a journey. But all of us, whether we work in clinical areas, as support staff or in the offices, are pulling in the same direction to secure a good rating for this organisation and we will achieve it.”
Outstanding areas of practice were highlighted by CQC inspectors including the creation of a specialist bereavement midwife, the new Fatima Allam Birth Centre, the work of the trust’s ophthalmology team, the use of discharge assistants and nutritional apprentices and the use of the computer system to provide on-the-spot information about bed availabilities.
Throughout the report, the CQC highlighted how staff respected patients’ dignity and wishes.
It stated: “Staff cared for patients with care and compassion. Feedback from patients confirmed that staff respected patients’ wishes and provided individualised care.
“Patients and relatives told us they felt well-informed by doctors and nursing staff about their condition, treatment options and plan of care.”
At Hull Women and Children’s Hospital, inspectors noted women felt involved in their care, staff were compassionate and leadership was strong and effective.
It stated: “All areas we visited were patient-focused. The culture amongst staff was positive and staff appeared motivated and passionate about caring for women in pregnancy.”
In outpatients, teams ran extra clinics at evenings and weekends so they could treat more patients.
“Staff involved patients and those close to them in decisions about their care and treatment,” the CQC said. “Patients confirmed that staff treated them well and with kindness.”
Although the CQC said the trust, in line with other trusts in the country, had vacancies for nurses and doctors, it said staffing issues were well-managed.
Since the inspection, a further 15 nurses have been recruited from overseas and 150 newly qualified nurses will join the trust later this year.
Inspectors also noted a major turnaround in culture and staff morale throughout the trust.
“We saw a significant improvement in the culture in the organisation and all staff we spoke with spoke positively about the leadership team and told us they felt supported, respected and valued.
“Overwhelmingly, staff were positive about and proud to work in the organisation. They were passionate about their services and morale was generally high.”