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Service designJun 25, 2021

Connect Health's founder Andrew Walton voices pleasure at results of CQC inspection

A growing independent provider of community healthcare services that was set up by a physiotherapist in 1989 has received a glowing inspection report from the Care Quality Commission (CQC).

Andrew Walton, Connect Health’s founder and group executive director, said the company was ‘proud and honoured’ to have been rated as ‘outstanding’ in the ‘well-led category’ and as ‘good’ in the other categories.

Photo Credit: Shutterstock
Connect Health's 'strong focus on continuous improvement and innovation' won praise

Power Diary 3rd May 2022
Power Diary 3rd May 2022

It is a fantastic achievement and shows that if you invest time and resources in your processes, your people and importantly your patients, you can deliver amazing results [Andrew Walton]

In a statement issued today (25 June) on Connect Health’s website, Mr Walton said: ‘It is a fantastic achievement and shows that if you invest time and resources in your processes, your people and importantly your patients, you can deliver amazing results.

‘It is a real testament to the hard work of the full Connect Health team, providing confidence and reassurance to all patients of the high standards of quality care provided.'

The report, which was published yesterday (24 June), is something of a rarity as the CQC only started inspecting such companies relatively recently.

It is based on an announced inspection conducted in May, the scope of which was limited to some extent by Covid-19 restrictions. It was led by Rosie Benneyworth, the CQC's chief inspector of primary medical services and integrated care.

In a background section, the report notes that the Newcastle-upon-Tyne based company had achieved ‘substantial growth in its business offering in the last year’.

Physiotherapy services not part of the inspection

Though physiotherapy services have always been a central part of the company’s services, these were not inspected as they lie outside the CQC’s ‘scope of registration’.

Mr Walton, a native of Newcastle and a visiting professor at Leeds Beckett University, graduated in physiotherapy at Northumbria University in 1985. He initially worked at the Royal Infirmary of Edinburgh for three years, before returning to Newcastle to take up a sports medicine post.

Leaders were 'innovative' and forward thinking'

The organisation, which provides healthcare to 375,000 NHS patients and more than 100 occupational health physiotherapy services, has a reputation for innovation and for seeking to improve the quality of its services.

Its efforts have clearly been appreciated by CQC inspectors, who rated the service’s leadership as ‘outstanding’.  ‘We were given examples of numerous innovations that had been implemented in the service during the past year. We found leaders to be innovative, collaborative and forward thinking,’ the report states.

The following service areas were all rated as ‘good’

safe: systems for managing risk were sound

effective: care and treatment delivered according to evidence-based guidelines

caring: staff treated people with compassion, kindness, dignity and respect

responsive:  patients could access care and treatment within appropriate timescales

in the well-led category, the leadership, management and governance of the organisation was 'outstanding'

What did existing customers say?

The report refers to recent attempts by Connect Health to obtain feedback from existing customers in clinical commissioning groups. Connect Health was said to be ‘open and honest, forward thinking, innovative and engaged’.

Following this attempt, a number of senior NHS ‘commissioners, influencers and partners’ were interviewed. Early findings suggest that Connect Health’s main strengths were being ‘innovative, digital and ambitious’.

The main weakness was that the company was ‘not visible everywhere’. Comments included: ‘The NHS Trusts were fine, but they were old school provision. Connect seemed exceptional in comparison’. ‘Connect had good experience, but also very much more modern thinking, aligned with the national move into that area of care.’

To see the report in full, visit: https://www.cqc.org.uk/location/1-2622925808

The report notes that a review of quality at Connect Health is currently being conducted and that a further report will be issued in due course.

Author: Ian A McMillan
Power Diary 3rd May 2022
Power Diary 3rd May 2022
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