INSPECTORS heaped praised on Prospect Hospice’s new management after its rating climbed from requires improvement to outstanding in just three years. 

The Care Quality Commission recognised in its latest inspection that staff provided outstanding care to patients, ensuring they were active partners in their care and those patients felt that they were truly cared for and supported. 

It was highlighted that the hospice achieved outstanding for being well-led and that leaders in the organisation had an inspiring shared purpose to deliver outstanding care. 
CQC inspectors looked at a number of areas within the hospice operation and five areas are graded before these are combined to give an overall rating for the organisation.

Following this inspection, the hospice was graded as outstanding’ for caring and well-led, with an overall rating of outstanding. The report also awarded good in the other three areas of safe, effective and responsive.

Prospect Hospice chief executive Irene Watkins said: “This is a wonderful outcome but, more so, words cannot express just how pleased I am for our staff, doctors, volunteers and supporters that make hospice care in the community possible. 

“As the end of life care specialist for our communities of Swindon and north east Wiltshire the outstanding rating is a wonderful reflection of how we care and support our patients and those important to them.”

“Everyone works incredibly hard and with great resilience and purpose to ensure that every patient we see receives a good death and that perception is different for everyone. Our approach is always to put the person and their wishes at the heart of their care, and this is something the CQC highlighted.”

The CQC issued a warning notice in March 2018 after an unannounced focused inspection in February and required the provider to make significant improvement by June 2018.

In August 2018 the CQC said the requirements of the warning notice had not been met, judging Prospect had not made progress at a sufficient pace. 

By November 2019, inspectors said the hospice had made good progress in addressing concerns. 

Ms Watkins added: “I’m also delighted that this report reflects how we work differently to other healthcare professionals to ensure each person receives the tailored care that is right for them. 

“We’re all unique as individuals; our wants and needs are all very different and even change as we go through life. 

“For those with a limited life expectancy it is about maintaining wellbeing and quality of life and to the point we approach death. 

“Our staff are incredibly proud and privileged to be able to support those in our local community at this very difficult time of life personally and for their friends and family.”

The CQC inspectors recognised in the report how the hospice was proactive and innovative in the way it responded to patient need, developing new ways of working where needed. 

One standout innovation is in how the hospice helps patients with their pain management and some recent work has involved virtual reality headsets to support mindfulness and meditation. 

Over the last couple of years, the hospice has seen a change in leadership and the report recognised that the trustees, executive and leadership team was visible and approachable and that the voices of patients, carers, volunteers, and staff were heard, listened to, and acted upon. 

It also noted that the culture within the organisation was inclusive, supportive and cohesive and that staff felt respected and valued and they enjoyed working at the hospice, feeling it was an excellent place to work.

Ms Watkins said: “While our priority is always that of the patient and how we can do the best for them, the hospice is also a place of work for many people. 

“We need to ensure that those who dedicate their time to supporting our patients and raising the funds to do so are supported in their roles, feel they can raise concerns or suggestions, feel listened to and that their comments are acted upon. 

“We all want to feel valued in the workplace and it’s pleasing to see that staff feel they are recognised.”