Croydon Health Services NHS Trust received a ringing endorsement from the Care Quality Commission (CQC) for their adoption of Listening into Action (LiA), in the new format inspection report published last week. Croydon was the first Trust in the country to experience the new CQC process.
"We saw widespread evidence that this was bringing about positive changes for patients and staff"
Prior to John Goulston’s appointment as Chief Executive in 2012, staff at the hospital put the Trust in the bottom 20% for many of the key findings in the National Staff Survey results. The Trust faced a huge financial challenge, and the pressures on staff and leaders alike was inevitably affecting the quality and safety of patient care. The CQC recognised that ‘the Trust had a history and reputation that was making it hard for it to move forward, but things are changing now.’
The report says: ‘The trust’s new senior management team has made impressive strides in the past six months in particular. Staff wanted to tell us about the impact they have made. More evidence of sustained improvement is needed, but we saw and heard many positives… the trust faces a significant challenge to improve the quality of care, and needs to change the culture of the organisation and engage staff in this process. They are using the ‘Listening into Action’ approach which is succeeding in involving staff and allowing them to contribute to finding solutions. We saw widespread evidence that this was bringing about positive changes for patients and staff. CQC inspection team members were consistently impressed by awareness of this initiative and the ability of staff to point to improvements it was making in the quality of care. The open and transparent leadership demonstrated by leaders in the trust was recognised by staff and is to be applauded, although the proof will be in the delivery.’
On leadership at the Trust generally, the CQC added further commentary about the leadership team and the LiA approach:
‘Patients, staff and stakeholders had many positive messages for us about the improvements that are happening and how this is leading to changes in the care and treatment given to patients... The main approach to improvement is called ‘Listening into Action’. This is where groups of staff come together to identify how services can improve. This is proving to be very successful. This has already led to lots of ‘quick win’ initiatives which are improving the delivery of services. Staff said how they can see the changes happening and welcome being part of this process. We noticed a very positive atmosphere in the trust. Staff said how much they enjoyed working there’.
Gavin Barwell, local MP in Croydon, refers to Listening into Action (LiA) in his own blog, highlighting that the CQC report identifies a number of areas of good practice, ‘including the ‘Listening into Action’ approach, designed to enable frontline staff to help identify improvements that could be made’.
John Goulston, Chief Executive, said in his own response to the CQC report: ‘The enthusiasm and compassion of staff has been singled out for praise following the most in-depth inspection ever undertaken at Croydon University Hospital. The Care Quality Commission (CQC) acute hospital inspection report is both fair and well balanced and includes a number of areas of good practice and areas for improvement. There are nine areas of good practice and as well as positive staff attitudes, the report names the care of people with dementia in A&E and the Listening into Action engagement programme. This is a hugely encouraging assessment of our progress at the hospital after many challenges. It shows us there is still more that needs to be done and where it needs to happen. Perhaps most importantly, the inspector’s assessment echoes our own priorities for the immediate future’.
Other LiA Trusts are receiving similarly positive feedback.