Improvement at South Tyneside NHS Trust - but inspectors say more work still needs to be done

Things are looking up - but South Tyneside NHS bosses have been told they must still do more to improve critical care and urgent and emergency services following the latest report by health watchdogs.

By The Newsroom
Friday, 2nd March 2018, 5:00 am
South Tyneside District Hospital.
South Tyneside District Hospital.

After the Care Quality Commission inspection of South Tyneside NHS Foundation Trust - which runs the hospital, in Harton Lane - its overall rating remains as ‘requires improvement’ following visits between October and December.

The inspectors found improvements in several areas, but say more needs to be done to boost the quality of services in some key areas, as in the fields of urgent and emergency service, surgery and critical care they were still rated as “requires improvement’.

Ken Bremner.

Areas to work on include:

* In urgent and emergency services, the areas used for assessing the mental health of patients must be safe, suitable and appropriately located;

* The trust must ensure all patients on the medical wards are assessed for malnutrition;

* In critical care, the trust must improve the management of risks.

Ken Bremner.

Work must also be done to ensure:

* Robust processes to improve governance and to effectively manage risks at all levels of the organisation;

* That staff remain compliant with statutory and mandatory training and to embed an effective annual staff appraisal process;

* And that a positive incident reporting culture, which encourages all staff to report incidents, is embedded and that staff receive feedback on lessons learned.

Meanwhile, some of the most significant improvements were found in medical care (including older people’s care) which has moved from ‘requires improvement’ to ‘good’.

The Trust’s overall responsiveness rating was also upgraded from ‘Requires Improvement’ to ‘Good’ while caring remains as ‘Outstanding’.

Mental health services were also rated for the first time at this inspection, and were rated ‘Good’ overall.

At the Trust’s Learning Disabilities Unit and Community Learning Disabilities Team based services in Jarrow which provides specialist care for people with learning disabilities, CQC inspectors rated the service as ‘Good’. Staff were again praised for their compassion, with family members feeling that they ‘were listened to by staff’ and that ‘they knew their patients well’.

The visit was the first time since the new executive team was established, which saw South Tyneside NHS Foundation Trust join forces with Sunderland NHS Trust.

To view the full report visit at:


Chief Executive, Ken Bremner, said: “The CQC report recognises the tremendous efforts of our staff and shows where, with focussed efforts, the right support and positive local leadership, we have been able to make some significant improvements over the past year to benefit our patients.

“It is very reassuring to see that once again our staff have been rated as ‘outstanding’ for providing kind and compassionate care and that people feel proud to work for us. This gives us a very positive platform from which we can now build and continue to improve the safety and quality of our services overall.

“It is important that we celebrate these ‘good’ examples of positive leadership within individual teams and departments and that we share these right across all areas of our Trust so that we can truly aim to be amongst the best in the NHS.

“It is equally important that we also now focus our efforts on the areas identified by the CQC for immediate action. By encouraging a positive culture of continuous quality improvement, where every member of staff feels empowered to make changes to improve the care and experience we offer our patients, I anticipate further strong progress in the year ahead.”

Neil Mundy, Chairman of South Tyneside NHS Foundation Trust said: “I am pleased that the CQC has recognised many of the quality improvements that we have made for our patients since they last visited us in 2015. I am particularly grateful to the Inspectors for highlighting those areas still requiring improvement.

“I would like to thank all staff for their continued hard work and dedication to provide outstanding care and, in particular, staff on the Elmville Unit and those working on our medical wards for achieving their overall ‘good’ ratings, as well as staff within urgent and emergency care, who have made tremendous efforts to improve.

“We now look forward to the next steps in our improvement journey and will focus on those areas which CQC has identified.”

Ellen Armistead, Deputy Chief Inspector of Hospitals said: “Since our previous inspection South Tyneside formed a partnership with a neighbouring NHS trust and established the South Tyneside and Sunderland Healthcare Group. This means they now have a single management team across both trusts, and the same senior leadership.

“The team inherited some significant challenges across many services and although the trust had taken action to address some of those issues, executive leaders acknowledged there was still more to do. For example, there needs to be more engagement with staff who feel uncertain about the trust’s structural changes and what it means for them.

“The trust needs to make sure that staff feel empowered to help drive forward the improvements they want to deliver.

“At this inspection CQC again found staff at South Tyneside to be exceptionally caring, and this was reflected in all of the interactions we saw between them and patients.

“Moving forward, the trust board knows what it must do to ensure improvements are made and we will continue to monitor the service and re-inspect to check on their progress.”