health & social care

Hospital Inspections: Raising Standards of Healthcare

health & social care

08:45 - 15:30

Thursday 21 November 2019

Prospero House- etc Venues, Central London

This event is now sold out. If you are interested in joining our waiting list, please contact us via email on or call 0203 770 6580.

This Hospital Inspections Forum provides delegates with a timely opportunity to explore how hospitals can raise standards of care, and the role of the inspections process in supporting them to achieve this. Attendees will hear from leading stakeholders, including Healthwatch, on different innovative, outstanding approaches to hospital care services. Furthermore, attendees will hear from leading hospitals on a range of issues including those who have excelled in patient satisfaction and safety, implemented effective leadership practices and cultural changes to deliver outstanding care and put in place effective governance processes to ensure they meet key inspection criteria and raise standards of care.


This Forum is specifically designed for NHS Trusts and Clinical Commissioning Groups within the Health Sector. Typical job titles include:

  • Chief Operating Officers
  • Chief Executives
  • Chief Information Officers
  • Directors of Quality
  • Directors of Nursing
  • Directors of Operations
  • Chief Nurses
  • Director of Patient Experience
  • Directors of Clinical Services
  • Heads of Governance
  • Operations Directors
  • Heads of Improvement
  • Service Transformation Managers
  • Heads of Assurance
  • Deputy Directors of Nursing
  • Matrons

This Forum is also open to the wider Public Sector and Private Sector to encourage networking and debate.

Key Speakers Confirmed:
  • Sir Robert Francis QC, Chair, Healthwatch
  • Angela O’Brien, Director of Quality and Effectiveness, Newcastle Hospitals NHS Trust
  • Professor Mandie Sunderland, Chief Nurse, Nottingham University Hospitals NHS Trust (NUH)
  • Neil Macdonald, Chief Executive, Buckinghamshire Healthcare NHS Trust
View the agenda and additional speakers

According to CQC’s State of Care report published in October 2018, a third of NHS acute care services are rated as requires improvement, the report also stated that one in five NHS mental health care services need to improve. Furthermore, according to The King’s Fund’s March 2019 Closing the Gap report, there’s a predicted shortfall of 108,000 nurses across the UK, further emphasising the need for hospitals to provide the highest quality of care for patients.

In addition the 2017 CQC report, The state of care in NHS acute hospitals: 2014 to 2016, demonstrated a ‘wide variation in quality both between hospitals and between services within the same hospital’ across 136 acute non-specialist and 18 specialist trusts. The report identified key areas of focus if outstanding care is to be delivered across the board including effective leadership, harnessing technology and increasing service integration and innovation in the way care is delivered. In June 2019, in light of comments from MPs on the Public Accounts Committee who criticised the CQC for not publishing the outcomes of its inspections fast enough, which meant “the public do not have timely information to make informed decisions about their care”, the Care Quality Commission re-introduced post-inspection letters for NHS trusts with an expectation that they are made public.

It is therefore vital that hospitals and their trusts place patients at the heart of care, engaging with them regarding their needs and creating a positive, responsive learning culture where safety and learning lessons from previous mistakes is paramount. In a challenging recruitment context it is more crucial than ever for hospitals to deliver comprehensive training and support to staff to ensure standards of safety are not compromised.

Sue Eardley, Head of Invited Reviews, Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health (RCPCH)

Sue Eardley manages the Invited Reviews programme at the Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health (RCPCH) which has completed over 100 reviews of NHS children’s and neonatal services since 2012.  Originally a chartered engineer /project manager in the oil and gas industry, Sue spent 13 years as a non-executive and then Chairman of an acute hospital trust in south London, alongside a range of voluntary local and national roles.  She spent six years leading the Children and Maternity strategy team at the Healthcare Commission/ CQC, overseeing design and delivery of all inspections and reviews in England of maternity, child health and safeguarding.   The RCPCH uses findings from its work to inform policymaking and service standards.  Sue works closely with her counterparts from other Royal Colleges to offer Trusts and Health Boards a consistent clinically-led expert review and advice service that focuses on safety, standards and patient care.

Neil Macdonald, Chief Executive Officer, Buckinghamshire Healthcare NHS Trust

Neil held service and general management positions at Imperial and Guy’s and St. Thomas’ Trusts before becoming Chief Operating Officer at Buckinghamshire Healthcare NHS Trust. He was appointed interim Chief Executive Officer in March 2018, and has held the substantive post since January 2019.

Neil read modern history at the University of Oxford and completed an MSc in Healthcare Management at the University of Birmingham. He started in the NHS as a National Graduate Management trainee and was a member of the 2012 NHS London Aspiring Leaders’ Programme. Neil is a member of the CEO Development Network and a Trustee for Scannappeal.

Alison Dickinson, Group Clinical Director, Spire Group

Alison joined the Spire Group in 2013, as Head of Clinical Services at Spire Leicester Hospital after having held senior management and clinical posts in the National Health Service

After greatly improving and strengthening the hospital’s clinical capability, in 2016 Alison was promoted to Chief Nursing Officer where she was the professional lead for all clinical services in the Group, and responsible for driving quality improvements in patient safety and patient experience in all of our 39 hospitals nationwide.

Her relentless focus on patient safety and delivering the very highest quality of clinical care is supported by robust medical governance and a multi-discipline team approach.

In recognition of her outstanding work in the CNO role, in November 2018 Alison was again promoted to the executive role of Group Clinical Director where she is accountable for our clinical standards and quality, in particular, our strategy of ensuring every hospital and clinic is rated ‘Good’ or ‘Outstanding’.

Sir Robert Francis QC, Chair, Healthwatch

Sir Robert has been a barrister since 1973 and became a Queen’s Counsel in 1992. He is a Recorder (part-time Crown Court judge) and authorised to sit as a Deputy High Court Judge.

He specialises in medical law, including medical and mental health treatment and capacity issues, clinical negligence and professional discipline.

He has chaired several health-related inquiries, including two inquiries into the care provided by Mid Staffordshire Foundation Trust and the Freedom to Speak Up Review into the treatment of NHS staff who raise concerns.

He is the honorary President of the Patients Association, a trustee of the Point of Care Foundation and the Prostate Cancer Research Centre and Honorary Fellow of the Royal College of Anaesthetists.


Registration, Refreshments and Networking


Chair's Welcome Address

Trevor Sheldon, Professor Health Services Research and Policy, University of York (CONFIRMED)


Morning Keynote: Inspecting the Inspectors – Does External Review of Health Services Provide Value for Money?

  • We all want high-quality health and social care
  • There are a number of approaches to try and achieve this, aiming at different levels in a system and organisations and with different blends of top-down and bottom-up/ developmental
  • One approach which is increasingly used internationally is external scrutiny via accreditation, inspection and other forms of external review.
  • This can be burdensome and expensive, so what is the evidence that this approach is effective and offers value for money
  • I will discuss the results of recent research in the UK and North America which raises questions about the impact of current and recent inspection regimes and opens up the debate what role inspection has in the quality assurance and improvement repertoire

Trevor Sheldon, Professor Health Services Research and Policy, University of York (CONFIRMED)


Special Keynote: Promoting a Patient Centred Approach to Hospital Services

  • Outlining how Healthwatch’s 2018-2023 strategy utilises patient recommendations to showcase how these can improve hospital services
  • Highlighting the importance of working with voluntary and community sectors and demonstrating how partnering with these sectors can provide effective change and improve local care systems
  • Providing guidance and examples on how local Healthwatch groups support health systems and local trusts to deliver real engagement, and how this has helped to shape local health services

Sir Robert Francis QC, Chair, Healthwatch (CONFIRMED)


Questions and Answers Session


Refreshments and Networking


Case Study: The Role of Leadership in Excelling in Providing High Quality Care

  • Examining how the leadership of the trust contributed to achieving an overall rating of ‘Good’ by CQC
  • Exploring the crucial role of the Trust’s board in achieving good governance and a strong accountability process
  • Sharing guidance on fostering a top-down positive culture that focuses on ‘a sense of common purpose and shared values’, building respect and pride in the organisation: How was this created?
  • Outlining how the trust engages with patients, the public and local organisations to ensure services are well planned and providing high-quality care

Neil Macdonald, Chief Executive, Buckinghamshire Healthcare NHS Trust (CONFIRMED)


Case Study: Demonstrating the Importance of a Strong Culture in Delivering Outstanding Hospital Services

  • Outlining the journey of Newcastle Hospitals NHS Trust in successfully achieving a CQC rating of ‘Outstanding’ for a second time, one of only five hospitals in the UK to achieve this, by embedding a team culture across the hospital
  • Examining how the trust achieved an ‘Outstanding’ rating in six of nine key service areas by creating an inclusive, learning and supportive culture in the trust, especially around dealing with incidents and complaints
  • Sharing guidance on how staff can provide a strong holistic care approach to patients, by going ‘the extra mile’ with additional support such as arranging emergency accommodation for vulnerable patients’, pet dogs and arranging flowers for the mortuary viewing rooms
  • Ensuring end of life care managers promote a positive culture and staff always feel valued, resulting in a clear sense of common purpose that high quality care for the dying was everyone’s business and embedded across the hospital

Angela O’Brien, Director of Quality and Effectiveness, Newcastle Hospitals NHS Trust (CONFIRMED)


Questions and Answers Session


Lunch and Networking


Case Study: Effectively Developing Staff to Improve Care Services Across a Hospital

  • Outlining how Nottingham University Hospitals NHS Trust linked the relationship between developing nursing and midwifery staff and provide high-quality care, which saw the Trust achieve an ‘Outstanding’ rating for care from CQC
  • Examining the innovative culture-change initiatives that have been introduced by the Trust to promote professional pride, including monthly DAISY Award to recognise nurses and midwives who have gone above and beyond in their duties to provide care excellence
  • Analysing the role of NUH’s Shared Governance programmes, a leadership model which places decision-making power into the hands of frontline staff, in developing over 2,500 staff nurses and Operating Department Practitioners to improve care standards
  • Highlighting the benefits of establishing the Chief Nurse Excellence in Care Fellowship Programme, which focuses on developing nurses and promoting the research-led practice, has had on improving care services and staff development across the trust

Shortlisted for the Best Employer for Staff Recognition, Nursing Times Workforce Awards 2019

Professor Mandie Sunderland, Chief Nurse, Nottingham University Hospitals NHS Trust (NUH) (CONFIRMED)


Case Study: Achieving an Outstanding Hospital Inspection Rating - Lessons From a Private Hospital

  • Highlighting how Spire Healthcare ensure a high level of consistency and standardisation of governance and management across their hospitals, such as Spire Manchester, Nottingham, Cheshire and Sussex which has received ‘Outstanding’ CQC inspection ratings
  • Sharing guidance on how hospitals can embed a holistic approach and that staff work hard to make the patient experience as pleasant as possible
  • Examining the process of thoroughly investigating a complaint, including analysing for trends and themes, as well as how learning is identified and shared to improve service quality
  • Outlining the key lessons learnt from the perspective of a private hospital in achieving a ‘Good’ or ‘Outstanding’ CQC rating

Alison Dickinson, Group Clinical Director, Spire Healthcare (CONFIRMED)


Questions and Answers Session


Refreshments and Networking


Case Study: Effectively Utilising Technology to Improve Care Services Across a Hospital

  • Outlining how The Walton Centre NHS Foundation Trust created a high level of culture and innovative technology to improve care and achieve an “Outstanding” CQC rating
  • Highlighting the process of creating a medical innovation group, including being only the second trust in the country to have a clinical lead for innovation and the impact this had on improving care
  • Examining how the trust utilised intra-operative MRI scanning, allowing surgeons to visualise tumours more easily reduces the requirement for further surgery, saving time and money for the hospital
  • Sharing further best practice examples of how technology has helped to raise care standards and the hospitals overall inspection rating, including 3D Printers and Virtual Engagement Rehabilitation Assistant (VERA)

Jan Ross, Director of Operations and Strategy, The Walton Centre NHS Foundation Trust (CONFIRMED)


Questions and Answers Session


Chair's Closing Remarks

*programme subject to change

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