THE Care Quality Commission has welcomed improvements made to emergency care and children’s services at Dudley’s hospital trust – but further work still needs to be done.

The CQC has published a new report following inspections of urgent and emergency services and services for children and young people at Russells Hall Hospital, part of The Dudley Group NHS Foundation Trust.

Following inspections in May and June, the overall rating for urgent and emergency services at the trust remains ‘requires improvement’ but improvements were noted.

Inspectors rated the category of whether the service was safe and responsive as ‘requires improvement’, while the aspect looking at whether it was caring was rated as ‘good’ again and the ratings for whether the service was well-led and effective have been boosted from ‘requires improvement’ to ‘good’.

Meanwhile, the overall rating for services for children and young people has gone up from ‘requires improvement’ to ‘good’. Inspectors rated the category looking at safety as ‘requires improvement’ again; they gave a rating of ‘good’ again for whether the service was effective and caring; and the category looking at whether the service was well-led and responsive was boosted from ‘requires improvement’ to ‘good’.

The overall rating for the trust, however, remains ‘requires improvement’.

Charlotte Rudge, CQC deputy director of operations in the Midlands, said: “It was positive to see improvements had been made across both services, and leaders must now ensure further improvements are made and the ones already made are sustained.

“We saw visible and approachable leaders in the children and young people’s services, and staff who were proud of their work and were kind and caring to the children and young people in their care.

“We sat in on a children’s outpatient appointment with a consultant and observed excellent interactions with the child and their family.

“In urgent and emergency care, we also saw hard-working, kind, and considerate staff who were committed to providing the best care to people using the service.

“Managers monitored waiting times and made sure people could access emergency services when needed and receive treatment within agreed timeframes.

“However, ambulance offload times regularly didn’t meet the trust target of 95 per cent of people being taken to A&E within 15 minutes. This had been consistently low at the start of the year which could have a detrimental impact on people’s care and increase the risk of deterioration in those in need of urgent care. Leaders must ensure this is improved as a priority to ensure nobody comes to harm.

“We will continue to monitor the trust, including through future inspections, to ensure further improvements are made so people can receive safe and appropriate care.”

Inspectors also said the resuscitation area didn’t meet the needs of the people needing urgent treatment and that medical staff in the department did not always have safeguarding training to the appropriate level.

Inspectors also noted services for children and young people did not have enough staff with the recommended qualifications, although there was a plan in place to achieve this.

Diane Wake, Dudley Group’s chief executive, said: “We are really pleased the Care Quality Commission has rated our children and young people service as ‘good’ - moving up from the previous rating of ‘requires improvement’.

“This achievement is down to the commitment and determination of staff to improve care for young people and children using the service and we are pleased the inspectors highlighted widespread improvement in the quality of care provided.”

She added that she was confident a £16.9million project to redevelop the hospital’s resus facilities, due to start in spring 2024, and work to improve safeguarding training for staff would bring about the improvements required in urgent and emergency services.

She added: “It’s pleasing to see both reports also acknowledge overall how our staff are focused on providing the best possible care and are proactive in addressing health inequalities.”

She said the resus redevelopment would also help to address the problem with ambulance offload times.

The full report can be seen on the CQC’s website.