THE quality of services run by Airedale NHS Foundation Trust has been rated as 'requires improvement' by health watchdog the Care Quality Commission (CQC).

The rating follows an inspection in November and December of last year. While the safe and well-led markers were rated as requires improvement, the effective, caring and responsive markers were rated as 'good', mirroring the ratings of the previous inspection in April 2017.

The CQC has also published the trust’s Use of Resources report, which is based on an assessment undertaken by NHS Improvement (NHSI).

It received the 'good' rating for using resources productively. This means the combined rating for the trust, taking into account the CQC's inspection for the quality of services and NHSI's assessment for resources, is 'good'.

In looking at the quality of service, the CQC raised a number of concerns.

Inspectors said risk assessments were not always completed or reviewed, not all incidents were effectively investigated and there was concern about the assessment and management of patients with mental health needs.

Their report also said that in some areas there was "poor compliance" with the trust's infection and control policy and some areas were in a "poor state of repair and reflected the ageing buildings".

However, inspectors saw that staff approached patients in a friendly and professional manner treating them with dignity and respect, and patients told inspectors they felt well informed about their care.

The CQC also said the trust was also working hard to reduce the length of time patients stayed in hospital and worked well with other care providers to ensure a strong continuity of care for patients entering into community care.

Professor Ted Baker, CQC's Chief Inspector of Hospitals, said: "At our latest inspection we found that some previously reported concerns, such as nursing and medical staffing, still remained and was impacting on patient care.

"Also, we felt that leaders in some areas were not governing effectively and not always clear regarding their accountability for quality.

“That being said, we did see that patients’ needs came first and staff worked hard to deliver the best possible care with compassion and respect.

“We have made our findings very clear to the trust and action needs to be swiftly taken to address the outstanding concerns. We will continue to monitor the trust and return to inspect again in due course.”

Brendan Brown, Chief Executive at the trust, said: “We are not complacent; we were rated ‘Requires Improvement’ for quality and well-led, and this is not where we want to be for our patients.

"The CQC’s report highlighted a number of areas where we need to improve, and we are already making headway. We want to be able to consolidate this good rating across all our areas when we’re inspected again later this year.

“However I am pleased that the reports recognise the extraordinary efforts our employees and volunteers make day in day out to care for our patients, their families and our community. Moving to a ‘good’ rating is a tremendous achievement, particularly when considered against the backdrop of continued unprecedented demand for services, financial challenges and national staffing pressures.

“I am extremely proud of our people, of their compassion and their dedication. I would also like to thank the patients and their families who were interviewed by the CQC during the inspection, our partners across our health and care system who work with us to care for our patients both in and out of hospital, and to our community in general for their ongoing support of Airedale.”