The trust was previously rated as ‘Good’ following an inspection in September 2014, but on CQC’s return inspectors found a number of improvements had been made resulting in it receiving an ‘Outstanding’ rating.
Lincolnshire Community Health Services NHS Trust is now rated as ‘Outstanding’ in terms of whether its services are responsive and well-led, and ‘Good’ in terms of whether its services are safe, effective and caring.
The inspection report made a number of references to Louth, including acknowledging outstanding practice in:
• Nursing staff on Carlton Ward who arranged a wedding for an end-of-life care patient within five hours, which was held in the day room in December 2017.
• A hospital-based community ward (Digby) was temporarily established over one of the most challenging periods during winter pressures and was staffed by nurses and therapists deployed from Louth County Hospital as well as agency staff.
• An out-of-hours GP hub was hosted at some centres in collaboration with seven local GP practices to provide GP care.
Chief Inspector of Hospitals, Professor Ted Baker, said: “We were very pleased with the quality of care provided by Lincolnshire Community Health Services NHS Trust and there were many notable examples of outstanding practice across all services.
“We were particularly impressed by the strength of leadership at the trust. There was compassionate, inclusive and effective collective leadership at all levels. Leaders demonstrated the capacity and capability needed to deliver excellent and sustainable care.
“The board were viewed as accessible, approachable, visible and highly experienced, with transparent accountability at decision-making levels. Without exception all staff were complimentary of the chief executive, his visibility and accessibility and leadership of the trust.
“There were high levels of satisfaction across all staff. Staff were proud of the trust as a place to work and spoke highly of the culture in the trust.
“Staff articulated the contributions made by themselves and their teams. Inspectors saw there were co-operative, supportive and appreciative relationships among staff despite the challenges of widespread workforce, dispersed teams and extensive geography.
“The trust should be commended for its attitude towards innovation and service improvements. Due to the widespread workforce, dispersed teams and extensive geography the trust had been innovative in its approach to staff engagement. The trust had created a tube map, which was accessible to all staff outlining staff engagement approaches.
“There was strong focus amongst staff on improving the quality and sustainability of care and patient’s experiences. Staff were encouraged to speak up and raise concerns and there were strong mechanisms in place to support this.
“We did identify a small number of areas where the trust could make further improvements. For example, they could improve the waiting times for patients in adult community services and a consistent approach to monitoring unattended appointments should be implemented
“Overwhelmingly, however, we found a trust that provides excellent care during our inspection. The trust board and all staff working at the trust are to be congratulated for their hard work in achieving such high standards across its services.”
Andrew Morgan, Chief Executive of Lincolnshire Community Health Services NHS Trust (LCHS), said: “We are incredibly proud of our ‘Outstanding’ rating from the Care Quality Commission (CQC), which recognises the pivotal role NHS community services are playing in Lincolnshire.
“LCHS has established itself with a clear purpose and sense of direction, delivering great care, close to home, which is underpinned by positive shared values and behaviours.
“This is driven by almost 2,000 outstanding staff working across the Trust, who are great at what they do. They show unwavering care, commitment and dedication, which can be seen in the numerous examples of outstanding practice identified by the CQC’s inspection team.
“This rating also rightly recognises our outstanding leaders, who support staff and create the right environment for them to do these great things.
“We will now be working to maintain this rating and make further improvements in those areas where we still strive to be better.”