AN INSPECTION into the region’s hospitals was “extremely positive”, according to a report.

Hampshire Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, which runs the Basingstoke & North Hampshire Hospital, as well as Andover War Memorial Hospital and Royal Hampshire County Hospital in Winchester, was rated as ‘Requires Improvement’ at their most recent inspection last year.

However, since then, a further “focused inspection” on the areas that they needed to improve found that progress had been made.

Despite this improvement, the rating remains as ‘Requires Improvement’ because a focused inspection does not look at care services as a whole.

The report, from Sarah Mussett, Programme Lead for Quality at the Trust, to the Board of Directors says that the Trust have improved on four key criteria they were told to improve on by the CQC – known as a section 31 action plan.

However, it found that there were still “areas of concern”, including that their medical equipment testing would not be at the target level.

Compliance was 79% and 78% in Basingstoke and Winchester respectively, far below the 90% target, which was hit in Andover.

The section 31 plan involved creating a privacy screening area in reception for people being streamed, with progress “continuing” in Basingstoke, having already been achieved in Winchester.

In Basingstoke, an extra triage nurse has been introduced for “more detailed clinical obs (observations)”, whilst work was commencing in Winchester on ImprovED flow work.

The report also raised a number of ‘should do’ items, known as section 29a actions.

In Basingstoke, the report says: “CQC stated that we had addressed all the concerns raised at the inspection in June 2018, with one exception.”

The one exception was to increase staffing on the Overton ward – and instead they closed beds to maintain safe staffing levels.

However, improvements were found to a number of factors, including in medicines storage and disposal, fridge temperatures, privacy and dignity of patients, mixed sex accommodation and improvements to patient experience.

It comes in the face of 10 per cent increase on attendances in late Spring, a higher amount than most other trusts.

Alex Whitfield, chief executive of Hampshire Hospitals, said: “The CQC visited our emergency departments (ED) earlier this year and found a significant number of improvements across the department. In addition, staff were praised both for their attitude and for the care they provide; with significant progress being made as a result.

“Over the last year, the ED team have introduced a number of new ideas and innovations. For example, they have created new specialised units to care for young patients, and introduced rapid assessment and treatment bays. It is this enterprising culture that led to them being awarded the prestigious Royal College of Emergency Medicine Award for Learning Environment of the Year earlier this month. That said, there remains work to do and this is on-going. However, thanks to the incredible efforts of the team involved I am confident we will get there.”