The Care Quality Commission (CQC) inspected the services we provide at Maidstone Hospital, Tunbridge Wells Hospital and Tonbridge Cottage Hospital, in October 2014.

The findings of, and recommendations to emerge from, the inspections are now available to view in three reports.

CQC report summary
CQC report into Tunbridge Wells Hospital
CQC report into Maidstone Hospital

Comment on the reports and local health services in general

Read our Quality Improvement Plan in response to the CQC reports


Our overall CQC rating is `Requires Improvement’. Although we are disappointed not to be rated “Good” on this occasion, the CQC recognise that we have used the review process in a positive way to help build up an “excellent picture” of our strengths and weaknesses to proactively “drive through improvements in care”.

It has been our aim to be open and transparent throughout the review, to make the process as beneficial as possible for our organization, our staff, and ultimately our patients.

The reports therefore fairly reflect the improvements we have made in recent years, our many areas of good practice, and the actions we must take (many of which are now underway or completed), and some we should consider, to reduce possible risks to and further improve our patient care.

We are proud of the fact that our staff are almost universally recognised in the reports as being caring and compassionate by both the CQC inspectors and our patients, and that they displayed a willingness throughout the review to use this as a positive opportunity to improve.

A Quality Summit was held by our Trust and CQC on 29th January to openly discuss our reports and the actions we are taking. A wide range of bodies were represented at the summit including our local clinical commissioning groups, Kent County Council, Social Services, Healthwatch, NHS Trust Development Authority and NHS England.

It was recognized we have a clear understanding of our responsibilities, that actions are underway where any urgent improvements are required, and a robust process is in place to monitor progress. At the same time, we are collaboratively addressing some of our long-term challenges that require the assistance and support of our partners.

We have, for instance, increased intensivist ward rounds at weekends on our critical care units, to urgently address this action. At the same time the CQC recognise that these units are achieving good outcomes for patients. And where our challenges are bigger than us alone, are working with our partners to resolve bed capacity and patient discharge challenges that have a far-reaching effect on our hospitals.

We are also enhancing aspects of our leadership and learning, to ensure the high standards which are clearly visible in some areas of our organization are consistently reflected throughout our organization as a whole. This will help ensure we are collectively doing everything we can to reduce possible risks to our patients. Many of our staff feel able to raise concerns and contribute to improvements, but not all of our staff always feel they get the feedback they need when they raise an issue. We are improving this area of communication to improve our learning and reduce risk.

There are also areas of outstanding practice noted by the CQC including the Maidstone Birth Centre, maternity services at Tunbridge Wells, work on dementia care and our breast care service.

It continues to be our aim to have two vibrant hospitals in Maidstone and Tunbridge Wells that collaboratively provide patients with the highest standards of care.

We welcome your comments on the findings of these reports, and would also like to hear your views about the local health services we provide in general, to help shape future improvements in the care we provide.

CQC Quality Improvement Plan (QIP)

Download the latest CQC QIP report, which show the progress the Trust is making to address the issues raised from the CQC inspection.