Partha Kar

How should one respond to an inadequate Care Quality Commission rating?

Inadequate. Depends on how you look at it, isn’t it? Depends on how you react to it.

The Care Quality Commission came to our trust and rated the Urgent & Emergency services as inadequate. Cue the predictable response. Listening to the media is a waste of time. Upstarts chasing bad stories, leaking salacious details is all it’s about these days.

Funnily enough, as with most things, diabetes care has led the way – and on a personal level, faced the sharp end of it back in 2010.

We were one of the, (or was it “the”?) worst teams as regards amputation rates. I learnt quickly- whatever you said would be seen as being defensive – I still recall the sarcasm-laced comments from those in better positions than us.

But you learn, you learn to accept it for what it is – and you work at it, with your team to make it better. Six years later, much to do? Yes, but have we moved on? I think we have.

So back to the CQC. Rile at them, be angry with them – and indeed there are strong views as regards their use, motives or indeed existence – but the reality is that until things change, they are here and they have published a report which rates part of where I work as inadequate.

I won’t spend much time on reasons but whatever way you cut it, the past is what it is. It is up to the present to try and rectify it for the future.

For reasons outside their immediate control, today, staff working in the urgent pathway are the focus of attention, the source of online click-bait – but would I take a loved one to be seen by the Portsmouth ED or MAU department? Yes, in the blink of an eye, because I know what the staff stand for.

Don’t believe me? Look at the CQC report – the ‘Caring Section’ – which is rated as Outstanding. Buried under the bad news…

I suppose it matters how you look at the ratings. One cynical view would be to ignore it completely – and walk away from it – but I’m not sure who wins or loses with that. It’s easy for me to stay out – hey the CQC says its ‘good’ so why bother.

I bother because its my trust, I bother because I owe a lot to this trust over my years as a junior doctor, helping me to develop me as a consultant. I can spend time berating the CQC or do my bit to deliver what’s needed.

It’s a question of equity, it’s a question of everyone pulling together and this will bring into focus the need for all to do what’s needed – so let’s do it.

Is Portsmouth Hospital a bad trust? No – have a look at the CQC report – if this was a report card, there’s a fair smattering of blue and green and some amber with one red. Our critical care is outstanding – let’s rejoice at that, and let’s learn from that. And then let’s go try and turn that one Red into something different.

This is my trust, a trust of which I am unashamedly proud – and I don’t give a monkeys about click bait stories. I do however care about patients and their needs; I do care about reputation and I also do know what amazing staff the hospital holds.

In the words of Abe Lincoln: “Let no feeling of discouragement prey upon you- and you are sure to succeed”.

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