A health trust that last year opened a pioneering emergency-only hospital has been rated “outstanding”.
Northumbria Healthcare NHS Trust is “one of the best hospital trusts in England”, chief inspector of hospitals Prof Sir Mike Richards said.
The Care Quality Commission said it was “caring, effective and well-led”.
The trust’s new Cramlington A&E hospital has faced criticism over long queues and the distance some seriously ill patients must travel to get there.
The £75m centre was the first in England purpose built to treat only emergency cases, with consultants on duty 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
‘A remarkable first’
But the plan for its opening also included the downgrading of A&E at the trust’s North Tyneside General, Wansbeck General and Hexham General hospitals, which now offer a walk-in service for less serious conditions.
Sir Mike said, however, there was a “consistency of the outstanding ratings across all four hospital locations and across community services”.
“To achieve this across so many sites is truly remarkable and is a first,” he said.
Trust chief executive David Evans said it was a “wonderful achievement” so soon after the trust “brought about a huge clinical change with our new emergency care centre”.
A&E at Cramlington was rated good overall with some areas of improvement needed.
The Care Quality Commission (CQC) had highlighted areas the trust “already knew about and were already working on”, Mr Evans said.
The trust said it had seen A&E patient numbers “far in excess” of those predicted, including walk-in patients which it had not intended to use the acute unit.
CQC regional head of hospital inspections Amanda Stanford said the trust had “struggled” with emergency waiting times.
But she said patient feedback overall had been “extremely positive” despite a number of criticisms on the NHS Choices website.
Many related to A&E and waiting times but the CQC had confidence …read more
Source:: BBC world news feed