7. Reports and independent enquiries
In common with all other NHS organisations, Barts and The London NHS Trust is subject to scrutiny and audit by a number of independent organisations and official bodies. The Trust welcomes these reviews as an opportunity to benchmark itself against national standards and identify and plan for improvements to its services. It also undertakes internal audits and surveys as a process of self-assessment and continual quality improvement.
The Trust’s accounts are audited by external auditors appointed by the Audit Commission on a rotational basis; the current auditors are KPMG. The auditors’ statements are included in the Annual Report.
Recent reviews of the Trust have been carried out by the following organisations and agencies:
Healthcare Commission (formally known as CHI) - the CHI report on Barts and The London following a routine review of the Trust (published on October 2001) is available on the CHI website at www.chi.nhs.uk/eng/organisations/london/barts or via the Trust’s website. A copy can also be obtained from the Publication Scheme Co-ordinator.
Patient care and clinical outcomes were found to be above average giving no cause for concern regarding clinical performance. The review found committed staff with a strong sense of vocation, who were developing innovative ways to improve patient care. CHI also commended areas of “excellent practice” in clinical governance. It praised the range of initiatives introduced to meet the cultural and religious needs of minority ethnic patients such as the multi-faith chaplaincy and the Muslim prayer room. CHI remarked on the good organisation of nursing staff in the Trust, which encourages and enables nurses to make their own decisions about patient care, and on the excellent opportunities offered for nurses in education and training, research and evidence-based practice.
The review highlighted just one area for urgent action – medical records – and others where improvements are needed. In response to the CHI review, the Trust drew up an action plan to address these issues.
Health Quality Service – the Trust received a re-accreditation award from HQS in April 2002. HQS is a prestigious accreditation awarded to Trusts that meet high standards of quality across the organisation.
Clinical Negligence Scheme for Trusts (CNST) – Barts and The London NHS Trust participates in the NHS Litigation Authority's Clinical Negligence Scheme for Trusts, a clinical risk management programme based on a range of standards and performance indicators aimed at reducing risk and supporting patient safety and quality. Evidence of compliance with the CNST standards is validated periodically by external assessors. The standards can be achieved at 3 levels. The Trust was reassessed by CNST in January 2006 and achieved Level 1 status.
Risk Pooling Scheme for Trusts (RPST) – the NHS Litigation Authority is responsible for RPST accreditation, which assesses NHS organisations for risk management processes. In 2003, the Trust achieved Level 1 achieving the highest scores of any Trust assessed at that time. Further information is available at the following website: www.nhsla.nhs.uk.
Improving Working Lives (IWL) – March 2003 – the Trust achieved Practice status following an IWL review focusing on the quality of working life for staff in the Trust. More details are shown at Section 12. A copy of the IWL Review Report is available from the Publication Scheme Co-ordinator.
Patient Environment Action Team (PEAT) – annual reviews of the Trust’s three hospitals. Following the most recent reviews, all three hospital sites in the Trust have received an ‘acceptable’ rating for cleanliness. Details about the PEAT programme and the Trust’s performance can be found in the Clean Hospitals section of the NHS website at www.nhsestates.gov.uk. A hard copy of this information is available from the Department of Health, Richmond House, 79 Whitehall, London SW1A 2NL. Tel: 020 7210 4850 (phone line open , Monday to Friday).