HEALTH inspectors say work needs to continue at Poole Hospital to address safety and surgical service concerns, despite improvements in most other areas.

Care Quality Commission (CQC) inspectors visited Poole Hospital NHS Foundation Trust during October and November, last year, to check quality of four core services.

These were medical care – including older people’s care – surgery, maternity and end of life care.

The CQC also looked specifically at management and leadership.

Following the health watchdog’s inspection the trust is now rated Good overall, Outstanding for being caring and Good for being effective, responsive and well led. However, the trust’s surgery service remains categorised as Requiring Improvement.

CQC deputy chief inspector of hospitals for the south, Dr Nigel Acheson, said: “Poole Hospital NHS Foundation Trust has worked steadily to embed the improvements we requested at our last inspection.

“I want to congratulate them for this work. It has helped them remain Good overall and to receive a rating of Outstanding for caring.

“Our inspectors found a strong patient-centred culture. Staff were doing what was right for their patients and involving them in decisions about their care.

“Patients and relatives spoke highly of staff and of the strong culture throughout the trust.

“However, the trust has been told to improve services around safety, and surgery services remain Requires Improvement. Further work is needed in this area.

“The trust remains rated Good for being well-led.”

Debbie Fleming, joint chief executive of Poole Hospital and The Royal Bournemouth and Christchurch Hospitals, welcomed the report.

She said: “We are very pleased with the inspectors’ findings – in particular, being rated outstanding for caring. Our hospital is extremely busy, and the fact that staff deliver such a high standard of care is a reflection of their dedication and commitment, and of course, our patient-centred approach.

“We recognise that there is still more work to do and the trust is committed to improving the quality of care for our patients. As we move towards merger with The Royal Bournemouth and Christchurch Hospitals, both organisations will be working together to develop the best possible services for local people. I could not be more proud of our teams who work so hard to provide great care for patients, and I would like to take this opportunity to give a heartfelt thanks to every one of them.”

CQC has also published the trust’s Use of Resources (UoR) report, which is based on an assessment undertaken by NHS Improvement. The trust has been rated as Good for using its resources productively. The combined rating for the trust’s quality and UoR is Good.

Last year the Echo reported how improvements had been made to Poole Hospital’s operating theatres, after the CQC had ordered it to take action to address failings in 2018.

In 2018 inspectors ordered “significant improvements” and made a follow up visit.

After that follow-up visit, in April 2019, they said issues raised in the warning notice had been addressed.

On the latest report, released today, Dr Acheson said: “Credit must go to the hard work and commitment of the staff and leadership team. We will continue to monitor the trust’s performance and will return to hopefully report on further improvements in due course.”