Royal Oldham Hospital still 'requires improvement', inspectors say

The Royal Oldham Hospital has again been rated as 'Requires Improvement' following the latest inspection by the Care Quality Commission.

It was rated as 'good' in three of the six categories - Effective, Caring and Well-led - but in the Safe, Responsive and Overall categories it still 'requires improvement', according to the report published by the health regulator on Friday. 

The Rochdale Road hospital (pictured) is one of four under the Pennine Acute Trust - along with North Manchester General Hospital, Rochdale Infirmary and Fairfield General in Bury. 

And health watchdogs have said the once-failing trust has turned a corner, rating it as 'good' after it was deemed 'inadequate' back in 2016.  

A huge overhaul followed as it joined with Salford Royal as part of the formation of the Northern Care Alliance NHS Group (NCA). 

The CQC inspected the trust again back in September and found a 90 per cent improvement across all of the service areas inspected. 

Inspectors assessed the quality, care and safety in six cover services across the four hospitals - urgent and emergency services, surgery, medical services, critical care, end of life care and community inpatient services. 

The trust's maternity, neonatal and children's services at The Royal Oldham and North Manchester General Hospitals were not inspected on this occasion. This means that although both maternity units retain their Good rating and Requires Improvement for children’s services from 2017, the way the overall rating for each hospital is worked out by the CQC’s algorithm means that both sites could not improve on its overall rating.

The individual ratings for each of the Pennine Acute Hospitals within the trust, in 2016 and 2019 respectively 

The Royal Oldham Hospital's rating remained as 'requires improvement' overall.

The report said its urgent and emergency service has improved its paediatric area, by including play specialists and asthma and respiratory nurses. The pop-up pharmacy in the discharge lounge has also 'significantly improved discharge times for people'. 

However, the hospital has been told they must reduce the number of cancelled operations and improve surgery waiting times.

Increased demand on services and the challenges facing The Royal Oldham Hospital in relation to A&E performance and elective waiting times, and other key national standards, prevented it reaching a Good rating. 

Meanwhile, all of the hospitals across the trust must improve and update their IT systems.

Raj Jain, Chief Executive at the Northern Care Alliance NHS Group (pictured below), commented: "This is fantastic news. We are really pleased for our staff to receive this positive CQC report. It rightly recognises the hard work and continued commitment staff have demonstrated over the past three years in providing high standards of care and also in driving the improvements that were needed. 

"Since 2016 we have benefited from the strength and scale of our NCA group by bringing together Salford Royal with Pennine Acute Trust. We have put in place group-wide systems and processes, invested in medical equipment and our workforce, recruited more staff, and strengthened leadership teams at each hospital (Care Organisation) to empower and support staff." 

He went on: "We know we have caring and compassionate staff, but by working together, by learning from each other and by putting the patient experience at the heart of everything we do, we have been able to really improve on the quality of care and reliability that was required. There is a completely different culture now – we are more open, honest and transparent, and benefit from a real positive learning culture. 

"I am also extremely proud of staff who have made these improvements despite the challenges, increased demand on services and the historic underinvestment in IT systems and estates infrastructure. I must also recognise the contribution our commissioners have made. We have been successful at establishing effective working in each locality and through these partnerships we are continuing to drive forward 21st century care. Working together we will secure the much needed investment that will provide our staff and patients with modern infrastructure. 

"We owe this improvement to our staff, patients and the communities we serve. We will not rest on our laurels; we will use this report to build on and improve further. Thank you to our staff; this report is a testament to their care, hard work and a can do team effort." 

Jim Potter, Chairman of the Northern Care Alliance NHS Group, said: "The improvements made across our Pennine Acute hospitals have been incredible and very real. It’s been a challenging three years and has meant a lot of hard work and willingness of staff and our leadership teams to make the changes and progress improvements whilst meeting the increased demands facing NHS services.

"On behalf of the Board and our Governors, thank you to our amazing staff for the care, compassion and skill they give to the thousands of people they treat and look after every day, 24/7. This is positive news for our staff, our partners and our local communities." 

The full report is available on the CQC website at

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