The findings follows a Care Quality Commission (CQC) inspection South Tyneside and Sunderland NHS Foundation Trust in March which was focused on its infection, prevention and control (IPC) measures.
The inspectors visited Sunderland Royal Hospital and the Trust’s community Intermediate Care Assessment and Rehabilitation unit based at Houghton Primary Care Centre.
Despite anonymous concerns which prompted the CQC visit at the height of the second wave of the pandemic, inspectors say they found clear and effective infection prevention and control processes in place to safely manage COVID-19, with a focus on continual improvement and many areas of innovation.
It’s findings also found areas of outstanding practice, which included research into air-purifying and ventilation of rooms for patients undergoing treatment for ear, nose and throat conditions.
The Trust was not rated following this inspection and remains rated ‘good’ overall with all previous ratings remaining in place.
Dr Shaz Wahid, medical director and director of infection, prevention and control at the Trust, said: “The safety of our patients and staff is always our absolute priority and I am encouraged that the CQC recognised the amount of work undertaken to enhance our already robust infection, prevention and control processes during the pandemic.
“COVID-19 has presented us with challenges we’ve never faced before and there will be much learning and many more opportunities for improvement across the whole NHS in the years ahead. What matters most is that our staff have felt fully supported, valued and listened to throughout the pandemic and they have remained entirely focused on the needs of our patients.
“This positive quality report from the CQC is testament to the dedication and hard work of our Infection, Prevention and Control Team, along with all colleagues at the Trust who have selflessly provided outstanding care to keep patients safe throughout the challenges of COVID-19.”
The report says staff reported no issues with supply of PPE throughout the pandemic and that they felt respected, supported and valued by their managers and the Trust board.
The CQC also praised the Trust’s open culture where staff could raise concerns without fear and which promoted the delivery of high quality patient care.