Royal Free Hospital given second worst rating in new ‘Ofsted-style’ ranking

Royal Free hospital

Royal Free hospital - Credit: Archant

The Royal Free Hospital has been given the second worst ranking in a new “Ofsted-style” rating system designed to assess the level of care and service provided by NHS hospital trusts.

Inspectors at independent health regulator the Care Quality Commission (CQC) found the hospital in Pond Street, Hampstead, at risk of providing poor care to patients after it failed in eight of the 83 key indicators.

These included patient confidence, whistle-blowing and “never events” – serious mistakes that should never happen.

The failings meant the trust became one of 44 across the country to fall into the two highest risk categories after scoring only two out of six on the new scoring system.

The point scores will eventually be used to assign new CQC ratings of “outstanding”, “good”, “requires improvement” or “inadequate” for each hospital trust.

By comparison, neighbouring trusts the Whittington Hospital in Highgate and University College London Hospital in Bloomsbury were awarded much better scores of four-out-of-six and six-out-of-six respectively.

The CQC revealed its first round of findings last Thursday and stressed that current evaluations were not necessarily a final assessment of the trust’s performance.

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Royal Free board members, who met on the day the CQC results were published, insisted action plans were already in place to deal with the findings.

Professor Stephen Powis, medical director at the Royal Free, said: “There’s nothing in terms of the risks they’ve identified that we don’t know about and haven’t got plans in place to deal with.”

He went on to suggest the hospital could easily see its rating improve, after the Royal Free was penalised for a single whistle-blowing event that will not feature in the next inspection report.

Responding to the report’s findings, a Royal Free spokesman, said: “We are always looking for ways to improve the care we provide to patients and because of this we already monitor the indicators included in the CQC report on a regular basis. We are proud of the exceptionally wide range of local and specialist services we offer and are certain that patients from our local community and beyond can feel confident in choosing us for their healthcare needs.”