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National first for Shepton Mallet NHS Treatment Centre

Company news

A treatment centre in a Somerset market town has become the first surgical hospital in England to be awarded a clean sweep of ‘outstanding’ ratings in every individual element of its Care Quality Commission (CQC) inspection.

In a report published this week by the CQC the inspector’s judged the centre to be ‘outstanding’ against the five main categories of providing safe, effective, caring, responsive, and well-led care.

No other NHS, independent or private hospital CQC report published so far has the five ‘outstanding’ stars on its overall rating. The centre, which only treats NHS patients, was also awarded ‘outstanding’ for its outpatients and surgery services.

Only the top three per cent of hospitals in the country have been awarded the exceptional ‘Outstanding’ rating by the quality watchdog. CQC inspectors visited the hospital in October 2016. They inspected and reported on two core services – surgical services and the outpatients/diagnostic imaging service.

The inspectors commented that patients have “excellent outcomes and their care and treatment was planned and delivered in line with evidence-based guidance, standards and best practice”. The report goes on to comment on the outstanding care provided to patients identifying that patients were “respected and valued as individuals and were empowered as partners in their care”.

Inspectors also praised the culture and approach at Shepton Mallet NHS Treatment Centre reflecting that both frontline staff and managers “were passionate about providing a high quality service for patients with a continual drive to improve the delivery of care”.

Dr Valerie Stewart, a semi-retired industrial psychologist from Wincanton who had her cataracts replaced at Shepton Mallet NHS Treatment Centre, added: “By profession I’m an industrial psychologist, so I’m used to visiting organisations and taking their temperature – how people behave, how they relate to one another and to the people who cross their threshold, and whether people feel sufficiently supported to rise above the basic minimum to bring an extra something to their work.

“The first things I look for are those features of an organisation that offer a floor below which performance can’t fall, such as cleanliness and tidiness, good time management, and – crucial in medicine and less frequent than you’d think – the use of checklists and other fail-safe procedures.

“From arrival to departure I felt completely secure, and I left with a clear idea of all the things that would happen next. Before I went there, I wondered whether it would feel like a production line – the same procedure done 20 times a day must get boring, surely.

“I was pleased to hear that some of the surgeons go overseas to do charity work, which is certainly a change in perspective. But of course it’s not 20 procedures – its 20 new relationships, 20 opportunities to exceed people’s expectations. Thank you, Shepton Mallet.”

The report follows news only a few weeks ago that, in a national survey of how independent healthcare providers of NHS treatments are performing, Shepton Mallet NHS Treatment Centre was found to be the best in the country for knee replacements and 8th for hip operations.

Michael Gilbey from Yeovilton has recently had knee replacement surgery at Shepton Mallet NHS Treatment Centre and is looking planning to have his other knee treated there. While in hospital he kept a web diary of his experiences.

He said: “I found from my personal experience the treatment I received from Shepton Mallet NHS Treatment Centre to be outstanding. This include the pre and post-operational, and follow-up care as well as the operation itself, provided by a team of professional, dedicated and caring medical staff. Catering and facilities were excellent too. No one looks forward to an operation or other medical treatment, but when one has to, Shepton Mallet is a clear choice.”

Chester Barnes, hospital director at Shepton Mallet NHS Treatment Centre, commented: “Everyone here is thrilled that the care we provide to patients has been rated ‘Outstanding’.  To be the first ‘outstanding’ hospital in the country to achieve that rating across all the criteria inspected, is a reflection of the consistently high standards of care and professionalism displayed by my colleagues every day.

“The CQC’s rating demonstrates that NHS patients in our region are able to choose one of the very best hospitals in the country when they need elective surgery. We’re proud that we continue to develop and expand as a key centre of excellence for local communities and for NHS commissioners.”

Independent sector treatment centres were introduced in 2005, to provide NHS patients with a wider choice of where they receive their treatment and to help alleviate waiting list pressures on the NHS. The Shepton Mallet NHS Treatment Centre is run by Care UK which also runs the Peninsula NHS Treatment Centre in Plymouth.  It was also rated as ‘outstanding’ by CQC inspectors last October.

Jim Easton, managing director of Health Care at Care UK, commented: “We hope patients, colleagues and commissioners are delighted to be able to celebrate a national first in Shepton Mallet. This is a great outcome for the treatment centre and Care UK and my congratulations go to the team for this superb achievement. We continue to build upon this exemplary care and share best practice across all of our NHS treatment centres.”

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