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OUTSTANDING - Hospice receives highest rating from CQC

Saint Francis Hospice has been rated as outstanding by a government health regulator following an inspection of its services. 

The inspection team from the Care Quality Commission (CQC) spent five days at Saint Francis Hospice in April and in its report published this week, it praised the "outstanding care and support" it provided to the community and said the management, staff and volunteers were "highly motivated and committed" to ensuring people benefited from the best possible care.     


Debbie Ivanova, CQC's Deputy Chief Inspector for Adult Social Care said, "This is an outstanding example of how a hospice should be run.    

"Relatives told us staff understood their emotional needs and focused on their wellbeing as well as the wellbeing of their close family."    

During the unannounced visit, the inspectors met staff, volunteers, patients, families and carers as well as external health professionals and closely examined the quality of the services given at the hospice in Havering-atte-Bower and in the community, focusing on five key lines of enquiry -  was the service safe, effective, caring, responsive and well-led?    

In awarding the charity the highest overall rating, the inspectors concluded that:    

  • Highly skilled, competent and committed staff and volunteers at the hospice and in the community were "outstandingly caring, kind and compassionate" and the service gave excellent end of life care which enabled "people to experience a comfortable, dignified and pain-free death."   

  • The service provided was safe, with systems in place to keep people as safe as possible should an emergency arise. The premises and equipment were appropriately maintained, medicines were stored safely and people told them "their relative had been 'absolutely safe' with hospice staff."   

  • Patients and their families were at the heart of every decision and people felt they were listened to and their needs and feelings were valued. People told the CQC that "staff never rushed and had time to talk and explain."  

  • There was a "strong emphasis" on the importance of good nutrition and hydration and a commitment to providing people with what they wanted.    

  • The Pepperell Education Centre on site was an "excellent training facility," offering a wide range of comprehensive education and training programmes to staff, volunteers, external health and social care professionals and carers to ensure everyone in the community had access to the best end of life care.    

  • Staff understood the emotional wellbeing of patients, families and carers and a range of counselling services were available to adults and children.   

  • The specialist palliative care doctors, nurses, physiotherapists and occupational therapists provided holistic care to people in the hospice and in the community, with 'respect and their dignity maintained', and that people in the community received 'the same standard of bespoke palliative care as they would in the hospice."  

  •  "Robust systems" were in place so people could receive advice and support whenever they needed it, highlighting the 24 hour a day Specialist Advice Line for patients and their carers as well as GPs and health care professionals. They recognised that the confidential OrangeLine telephone service was tackling isolation and loneliness.   

  • The Day Therapy Unit "enhanced wellbeing" and reduced social isolation by giving people access to specialist medical and therapeutic services as well as support groups and activities.    

  • Staff received training and information so that they were aware, respectful of and "committed to meeting people's cultural and religious needs" before, during and after death."   

  • The hospice worked closely and in partnership with external health and social care professionals and organisations and the management team were continually "striving to improve, extend and develop its services to the wider community." 

Saint Francis Hospice is currently the only adult hospice in the East of England, Essex and London with an overall rating of outstanding and only one of two adult hospices in the UK to achieve "outstanding" in four out of the five key lines of enquiry.    

Tes Smith, the hospice's Director of Quality and Care, said: "I am thrilled and delighted we have achieved an outstanding rating following our inspection.   "At Saint Francis Hospice we strive for excellence in all that we do and the services we deliver and the fact this has been validated by CQC gives us even more motivation to keep developing and ensuring we reach as many local people in need as we can." 

Hazel McGwyne, Head of Quality and Audit, said, "We are extremely proud of our outstanding award.      


"This is solely due to the 100% effort put in by all the staff to make the services respond to our patients wishes.     

"Our mantra is 'what matters to me today' and every member of staff works towards accomplishing that wish and need."    

Chief Executive Officer, Pam Court, said, "Saint Francis Hospice has a truly amazing compassionate and committed staff and volunteer workforce of whom we are tremendously proud.     

"I trust our supporters will continue to have every confidence in us to deliver outstanding palliative and end of life care to local people now and in the future."    

Dr Bob Weatherstone, Chairman of the Board of Trustees, said, "It is indeed fantastic news.     

"This award reflects the exceptionally high standard of care that we are able to provide, both for people at the hospice and in their own homes.     

"We could only have achieved this by the dedication of the whole hospice team.  

"Personally, I am proud to be part of Saint Francis Hospice, an outstanding organisation."


You can read the full report about Saint Francis Hospice on the CQC website.