Health watchdogs have given a thumbs up to services at the Royal Hampshire County Hospital – but said work still needs to be done.
An inspection by the Care Quality Commission found that overall the hospital had improved since its last inspection and now the Romsey Road hospital has been given an overall rating of "good" after it was inspected during the summer.
Inspectors from the Care Quality Commission found the trust which runs it – Hampshire Hospital NHS Foundation Trust – to be "outstanding" for providing caring services. But they said that work was still to be done in some areas.
Chief Inspector of Hospitals, Professor Sir Mike Richards, said: "There were significant numbers of vacancies in some areas, with wards relying on nursing staff working longer hours, or by sharing staff or staff skills across shifts. At times some people were waiting too long in the emergency department."
While End of Life care services at the hospital were considered "outstanding" its outpatients and diagnostic services were criticised.
The report said there had been one serious incident requiring investigation of a patient lost to follow up in outpatients where clear actions had not been taken to mitigate future risks.
"Some of the equipment used in outpatient had not been regularly tested to ensure it was safe to use."
But the report praised the trust overall adding it "sets an example that many could learn from".
Prof Richards added: "The leadership team showed a commitment to develop and continuously improve services, and staff were positive about working for the trust and the quality of care they provided.
"We saw many areas of outstanding practice, but it is notable that we found end of life care to be outstanding in all three hospitals and in all departments with staff who clearly lived up to the trust's core values, and whose work was appreciated by many patients and their families.
"I am confident that the trust will take this inspection to heart, and continue to improve services further for the benefit of its patients."
Hampshire Hospitals Foundation Trust, Mary Edwards, said: "This report recognises the amazing care and professionalism that all of our staff, clinical and non-clinical, demonstrate day-in and day-out despite the recognised pressure on our services.
"I am very proud of all of our hard-working and caring staff. This is a tremendous vote of confidence."
Winchester & Chandler's Ford MP Steve Brine praised the trust for turning the hospital around. He said; "The new hospital inspection regime, brought in by this Government, is incredibly tough and it must be. So the rating HHFT have received is significant and huge credit should go to the management and staff in Winchester, Basingstoke and Andover as a result.
"There can however, be no question of complacency, not least because we must maintain safe staffing levels in acute care across the Trust and that's why the proposed new critical treatment centre has to remain on the table."
Pictured and note; The Royal Hampshire County Hospital on Romsey Road, Winchester. This story is largely based on that posted by the Hampshire Chronicle.
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