PhysioUpdate 28th December 2021

Innovatory rehab programme helps make hospital a 'shining example of best practice', says CQC

Inspectors who visited a Nuffield Health hospital in West Sussex in the autumn were highly impressed by an innovative rehabilitation programme that physiotherapists and other clinicians were running for patients who had been treated for Covid-19.

The free programme, which was launched in pilot form in September 2020, is given as an example of ‘learning, continuous improvement and innovation’ at the hospital in a glowing Care Quality Commission (CQC) report that was released earlier this month (15 December). The Chichester Hospital received a rating of ‘outstanding’ – up from one of ‘good’ in its previous rating.

The Nuffield Health hospital's free rehab programme helped it gain a shining report

'Significant improvements' in patients' health

The report explains that recovering patients in the local area were able to refer themselves directly on to the 12-week pilot rehabilitation programme, as could the local NHS trust. ‘It was a multidisciplinary programme that included clinical teams, physiotherapists, emotional wellbeing and clinical exercise.’

The first six sessions were delivered remotely, with the remainder taking place at the patients’ nearest Nuffield Health fitness and wellbeing centre. ‘Initial feedback from the pilot showed significant improvements in breathing, strength and stamina, along with a reduction in symptoms of anxiety,’ the CQC report states.

The inspectors, who visited the hospital in October, heap praise on its leaders for encouraging innovations of this nature and embedding the culture widely, noting: ‘All staff were committed to continually learning and improving services. They had a good understanding of quality improvement methods and the skills to use them.’

The service is incredibly well run and should be upheld as a shining example of best practice which others can, and should, learn from. Well done to everyone involved [Amanda Williams, CQC]

The Chichester Hospital apparently performed well in comparison to others run by Nuffield Health, a charitable organisation. Offering her congratulations to the hospital’s leaders and staff, Amanda Williams, the CQC’s head of hospital inspection, said: ‘As a charity, the service is focused on patient care over profit and its values reflect this.

'There was an open culture throughout the hospital, and it was clear that communication was working well at all levels. Attendance at team meetings was good; staff told us they would sometimes come in on their days off to attend meetings, as they found them so useful.’

The hospital delivers a range of elective surgery to adults who can be funded privately or by the NHS. It also provides a variety of outpatient services, X-rays and ultrasound diagnostic testing. While physiotherapy is offered to patients recovering from surgery, this service was not visited by inspectors in October.

'Shining example of best practice'

Ms Williams added: ‘Although we pointed out one or two areas where some further improvements could be made, overall, the service is incredibly well run and should be upheld as a shining example of best practice which others can, and should, learn from. Well done to everyone involved.’

Example of the CQC's positive feedback

'Staff provided good care and treatment, gave patients enough to eat and drink, and gave them pain relief when needed. Managers monitored the effectiveness of the service and made sure staff were competent.

'Staff worked well together for the benefit of patients, advised them on how to lead healthier lives, supported them to make decisions about their care, and had access to good information.'

John Bruell, Nuffield Health Chichester Hospital's director , said: 'We are delighted to receive this assessment of the quality of care we provide to our patients. We recognise the responsibility we have within the local community to deliver the best possible treatment and to respond to the individual needs of all our patients. The pandemic continues to place restrictions and delays into healthcare and we work very hard every day to facilitate and improve access for people to high quality care.

Mr Bruell added: 'This assessment from the CQC is an opportunity to acknowledge the exceptional dedication, commitment and skills of our teams throughout the hospital, from our nurses, clinicians and physiotherapists to our support staff, housekeepers, medical secretaries, porters and catering staff.  I am extremely proud of everyone for their exceptional care for our patients and for overcoming the additional challenges of the pandemic.'

To see the CQC's report on Nuffield Health Chichester Hospital, visit:



Physiotherapy's future is on the line, says New Zealand-based 'critical thinker' Dave Nicholls

Physiotherapists and nurses avoid asking deep theoretical questions about the point of their professions and prefer instead to focus on their ‘usefulness’, according to 'Physiotherapy Otherwise', a new book by New Zealand-based academic and physiotherapist Dave Nicholls.

In the book’s opening section, Dr Nicholls suggests that this stance is misguided and could even put both professions’ future in jeopardy. Nursing theorist Michael Traynor, he tells us, said in 2017 that nursing’s leaning towards ‘usefulness’ meant that the role of theory was limited to ‘dealing with the status quo’ – blocking access to discussions about the profession’s ‘radical possibilities’ as a result.

Turning to physiotherapy, Dr Nicholls says he detects a ‘similar scepticism towards theory in general’, something that is ‘underpinned by the profession’s long-standing belief that physiotherapists are “practical people”’.

Can the physiotherapy profession respond to the new types of questions it is being asked?

Read More

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