The Care Quality Commission has revealed that the Buckinghamshire Healthcare NHS Trust has continued to provide ‘good’ care to its patients.

The inspection looked at the medical and surgical services at the Trust’s Stoke Mandeville and Wycombe Hospitals.

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They did not inspect any of the Trust’s community services or other acute services including critical care, end of life care, outpatients, maternity, community health services of the National Spinal Injuries Centre and these areas retained their current ratings, many of which are ‘Good’ or ‘Outstanding’.

Commenting on the rating, Neil Macdonald, the Chief Executive of Buckinghamshire Healthcare NHS Trust, said: “We are pleased with the outcome of the inspection because there is not one person within the Trust who does not want to do the right thing for our patients and has not worked tirelessly to try and deliver that in exceptional circumstances.

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“The last two years have undoubtedly been the most challenging in the history of the NHS and at the time of the inspection, we had a high rate of staff absence due to Covid-19 and were still looking after a significant number of patients with Covid-19 due to the virulent Omicron variant.

“Despite these challenges my colleagues continued to treat patients with compassion and kindness, respecting their privacy and dignity and taking account of their individual needs.

“This was recognised by the CQC who upheld our rating of Outstanding for caring.

“I am proud that the CQC acknowledged that, despite our workforce challenges, staffing levels were carefully monitored to ensure that we could continue to deliver safe care.

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“They also recognised that the Trust is committed to continually looking at ways to improve services, engaging with the local community and patients to ensure their voice is heard.

The Care Quality Commission said:

• Staffing levels were carefully monitored, and steps taken to maintain safe staffing levels.

• Staff provided good care and treatment, gave patients enough to eat and drink, and gave them pain relief when they needed it.

• Staff treated patients with compassion and kindness, respected their privacy and dignity, took account of their individual needs, and helped them understand their conditions. They provided emotional support to patients, families and carers.

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• The service planned care to meet the needs of local people, took account of patients’ individual needs, and made it easy for people to give feedback.

• In most areas’ leaders were visible and approachable and staff were supported to develop their skills. Staff understood the Trust’s vision and values. In general staff felt respected, supported and valued. The Trust promoted equality and diversity in daily work and provided opportunities for career development.

• The Trust engaged well with patients and the community to plan and manage services and staff were committed to improving services continually.

• The Trust had worked to maintain some of their elective services during the Covid-19 pandemic and recovery plans were being implemented to ensure that the backlog was addressed.

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However, the inspection also showed that the following areas require improvement:

• Staff adherence to infection control guidance was variable.

• Staff were not always supported to develop through yearly, constructive appraisals of their work.

• Engagement in and understanding of quality improvement was variable.

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• Training in working with people living with dementia and those with learning disabilities was not mandated.

• Substances that were subject to COSHH regulations were not always managed safely.