The incredible staff at St Luke’s Hospice Plymouth are bursting with pride this week as the government’s care regulator rated the service they give as outstanding, an accolade currently given to less than 3% of the organisations they inspect.

The Care Quality Commission (CQC) looked at the work of St Luke’s for a week earlier this year, visiting both its specialist unit at Turnchapel and the team of nursing and social care staff coordinating people’s care at home. Across the board the hospice team offered, “outstanding end of life care which enabled people to experience a comfortable, dignified and pain-free death,” says the report.

It’s the little differences, believes the hospice team, that take the care to the next level; such as the report’s mention of the attention paid to “people’s individual social and psychological needs.” This includes supporting families with children with a play area and “ways to engage with young children such as providing a paddling pool.”
Stuart Elford, Chairman of the St Luke’s Board of Trustees said, “This is an important and well-deserved recognition for the staff and volunteers who make St Luke’s the special place it is by working tirelessly with devotion and dedication to excellent standards of care. The ‘outstanding’ accolade will be no surprise to the patients of St Luke’s or their families who consistently comment on the high quality of the service provided. On behalf of the board I offer our sincere and heartfelt thanks and congratulations to the whole team for all their efforts which have resulted in being awarded this outstanding rating.”

In a ringing endorsement of the hard-working local charity, people and relatives that spoke to the inspector said the, “staff approach was exceptionally kind and compassionate,” leaving the CQC to conclude “people were at the heart of the service” and “all aspects of their medical, emotional and spiritual needs were personalised.”
The CQC expert also picked up on the charity’s ethos of community saying the service did “excellent work” on continually looking at what local people needed, such as the innovative Crisis Team to reduce unnecessary hospital admissions.

And to make this whole idea of people-centred care work the staff are “exceptionally well-trained and had excellent knowledge of each person”, allowing them to go, “that extra mile to ensure people’s needs were met in a holistic way, including support for people’s loved ones.”

A CQC report is filed based on evidence collected by an expert to reach judgements about whether caring services are safe, effective, caring, responsive and well-led. Conclusions are then considered by an independent panel before publication. The full version of the latest St Luke’s 2016 inspection outcomes will be available on the CQC website shortly.

According to the regulator’s own data, 994 healthcare providers were rated in the last month (as of 19 October 2016). Of these 28 (or 2.8%) rated as outstanding. Overall, just 0.7% of all organisations matched or exceeded the St Luke’s report by receiving outstanding ratings in four areas or above.