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Wirral University Hospital NHS Foundation Trust

CQC report praises Trust practice for infection prevention and control

A Care Quality Commission (CQC) inspection at Wirral University Teaching Hospital Trust found ‘outstanding practice’ regarding infection, prevention and control.

The unannounced visit by inspectors was carried out in February this year, focusing purely on infection prevention and control (IPC) at the Trust’s Arrowe Park Hospital.

Inspectors praised the Trust’s ‘Keep it Simple’ campaign, which was a strong clinically-led explanation of all aspects of infection prevention and control and not just COVID-19, as an example of ‘outstanding practice’.

The campaign used simple messages to communicate information about infection prevention and control to staff, patients and visitors. This included brightly coloured posters and information leaflets throughout the hospital to articulate key priorities.

IPC has been a huge priority for the Trust during the COVID-19 pandemic to help prevent the spread of infection and inspectors highlighted key positive working practices.

Inspectors found that leaders understood and managed the priorities, as well as issues, staff faced. They found leaders were visible and approachable to staff and patients. There was also an improvement in healthcare associated infections.

The CQC report highlighted that the Trust had a clear vision plan for continuously improving IPC measures and it had an annual plan that was aligned with the wider healthcare system.

It was found that staff felt respected, supported and valued. The Trust was highlighted as having a good open culture to raise concerns with a variety of ways to do so, focusing on the needs of the patients.

Staff were clear about their roles and who was accountable for patient safety. Communication and learning supported patient safety across the Trust. Improved IPC measures implemented at the Trust included separate staff and patient entrances to allow for social distancing; volunteers at entrances to direct people to hand sanitiser and clinical masks, which are mandatory on entering the hospital, as well as social distancing signage on floors and walls.

The Trust collected reliable data and staff could easily access information they needed. Its IT systems worked well and were secure. Patient records were clear and accurate with regards to COVID-19 tests and results.

Leaders collaborated with partner organisations to improve services for patients. Trust staff were committed to continually learning and improving services. It had processes in place to achieve this and promoted a continuous improvement culture around IPC.

There were areas highlighted by inspectors to help the Trust improve. These included the need to finalise its draft IPC strategy; a requirement for staff to assess the risk of infection transmission for patients nursed in single rooms and ensuring all staff are aware of personal protective requirements in specific settings.

Janelle Holmes, Chief Executive at Wirral University Teaching Hospital, said: “It is fantastic that the systems and processes we have put in place to ensure we keep our patients and staff as safe as possible from the spread of infection have been recognised by the CQC. The team has worked tirelessly to develop and apply innovative IPC measures to protect our patients and staff, which has been all the more important as we have adapted our working during the pandemic.”

Hazel Richards, Chief Nurse and Director of Infection Prevention and Control, added: “Staff have worked hard over the past year to ensure patient and staff safety are our top priorities and we have an open culture where we continue to learn. IPC has been at the forefront of all our activity and remains a constant focus.

“We welcome the report from the CQC, as it recognises the considerable improvements made and will help us to further improve our services for patients.”

As this was a focussed inspection on infection, prevention and control the result does not change the current CQC overall Trust rating, which is ‘Requires Improvement’. The Trust’s overall rating was compiled from CQC visits in May 2018, October and November 2019 and a final report in March 2020.

This February 2021 inspection focussed on IPC, where the CQC reported no major concerns and found evidence of outstanding practice, provides further evidence of the improvement journey the Trust is committed to in all its operations.

To view the CQC inspection report visit: https://bit.ly/3gmD8cW

To View the CQC press release click here: https://bit.ly/2QKitot

For further information about the content of this news release, please contact the Communications Team on 0151 604 7640 (direct line) or 0151 678 5111 (switchboard).