The Care Quality Commission (CQC) has rated community services provided by First Community Health and Care as ‘good’ across each of its five domains: Safe, Effective, Caring, Responsive and Well-Led, with an overall outstanding rating for their Community Urgent Care Service.
This follows a full unannounced inspection in March of this year – a time of unprecedented COVID sickness and following two years of managing the pandemic.
Several outstanding practices were acknowledged in the report which pay tribute to the benefits of strong partnership relationships across health and care providers in East Surrey and the benefits this brings to local patients and residents.
The CQC identified several areas as “Outstanding” which also recognises the fantastic contribution of First Community staff and service leaders for example:
Staff identified the need for a Covid-19 rehabilitations service to meet the needs of the local population early on in the pandemic. This was before national commissioning guidance about this type of service had been released. The team had been nominated for a UK social enterprise award.
Within the community urgent care services staff had proactively presented a case for a new wound dressing clinic in the Minor Injury Unit (MIU) that would have several benefits, most importantly improved quality of care for local patients with ongoing wound care needs but also will alleviate pressure on the local primary care providers (GPs).
More generally staff were passionate about their work and spoke with pride about the positive team culture in the MIU. Leaders were incredibly supportive of staff, who recognised and valued this support. Feedback from people who used the service in Caterham was also consistently positive.
Staff delivering community health services for children, young people and families went the extra mile to identify the particular needs of vulnerable population groups and tailored services to their needs. The inclusion team, which works across Surrey, holistically addressed the health needs of all family members and linked in with voluntary and local authority teams to ensure families received the full range of health and social care support they needed. Staff worked flexibly to reach members of the community in hard to reach groups. This involved working at evenings and weekends to attend cultural and religious events in the local area to encourage families to access their services. Health visitors increased visits for new mothers during the pandemic to support those feeling potentially isolated and virtual Baby Cafes supported new mothers with infant feeding at this difficult time.
Sarah Billiald, First Community’s Chief Executive Officer was very pleased with the results of the inspection and said: “Achieving Good across the board with several outstanding elements is something we’re all very proud of.
“Our staff have worked incredibly hard throughout the pandemic and we’re pleased the CQC recognised the strength of our services throughout their report, having visited at the peak of the Omicron outbreak in March 2022.
“Following an unprecedented two years this is a great achievement for the organisation as we’ve had to adapt and transform to new ways of working and this result is testament to the hard work and dedication of our workforce.
“It’s also the first time our organisation has had a full Well-Led element of the inspection, being rated ‘Good’ for this demonstrates that our leadership has a clear strategy, together with strong governance and assurance processes that are grounded in the experiences of patients, users and staff to support decisions now and in the future – something that is very important to us as an employee-owned organisation.
“With any inspection there will be learning, and we’re pleased that the areas mentioned by the CQC were ones we had already identified ourselves and are in our Business Plan for the year. Delivering First-Rate Care by First-Rate People at First-Rate Value remains our passion and this was clearly seen by the inspection team when they visited.”
Director of Multi-Professional Development and Chief Nursing Officer at Surrey Heartlands Health and Care Partnership, Clare Stone, added: “I’m really pleased to read the CQC’s reflections on quality of care and the passion demonstrated by staff about their work. The work of the Inclusion team and the positive relationships that have been developed are particularly impressive in helping to reduce gaps we know some communities experience in health outcomes and access to services.Overall this represents good news for local patients.”
The full report can be found on the CQC website.