Improved rating for Aylesbury's Royal Bucks Hospital after unannounced inspection

Private hospital in Aylesbury has improved from 'requires improvement' to 'good' after latest unannounced inspection
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The Care Quality Commission (CQC) has rated The Royal Buckinghamshire Hospital in Aylesbury, as 'good', after a recent inspection showed improvements had been made.

The hospital, on Buckingham Road, was previously rated as 'requires improvement', in a CQC report published in November 2018.

The 22-bed hospital offers inpatient and outpatient rehabilitation for both private and NHS-funded adult patients with spinal cord injury, acquired brain injury, stroke or other neurological conditions.

The Royal Bucks Hospital in AylesburyThe Royal Bucks Hospital in Aylesbury
The Royal Bucks Hospital in Aylesbury

The CQC carried out an unannounced, comprehensive inspection of the hospital in October.

Following the inspection, the overall rating for the hospital improved from 'requires improvement' to 'good'.

The rating for caring remains 'outstanding', the rating for effective and responsive remain 'good', the rating for safe improved from 'requires improvement' to 'good', the rating for well-led remains 'requires improvement'.

Amanda Williams, head of hospital inspection for the CQC, said: “When we inspected The Royal Buckinghamshire Hospital, we found a service that was providing outstanding care to patients using state-of-the-art equipment and facilities, such as a wearable robot that supported patients to walk.

"Staff treated patients with compassion and kindness and took their individual support needs into account, using word boards or other communication tools if required.

"They also made sure they considered people’s personal, emotional, cultural, social and religious needs and how these may impact on their care.

“When patients were unable to leave the building or receive visitors because of the Covid-19 pandemic, staff developed an activity programme, with movie nights, quizzes and beauty evenings.

"They also ate their Sunday roast with patients to create a more homely atmosphere.

"When one patient was celebrating their anniversary, their partner at home made a special meal they had eaten on their first date, and kitchen staff replicated it for them so they could eat the same meal together over a video call.

"The therapy team even held cooking sessions for a young family whose relative was sadly dying, so they would be able to cook healthy meals after their relative had passed away.

“Staff also made sure families were involved with their loved one’s care and treatment.

2Therapy sessions were recorded and streamed via teleconference for families who were unable to attend, and therapists used Zoom calls to review the patient’s home environment before they were discharged.

"These are all examples of an incredibly caring and committed team who were going out of their way to offer the best possible support to patients on their rehabilitation journey.

“However, leaders didn’t have effective processes in place to monitor performance across the hospital and we pointed out improvements need to be made to ensure these are kept under review.”

Inspectors found the following during this inspection:

The service had enough staff to care for patients and keep them safe. Staff felt respected, valued and supported. They had training in key skills, understood how to protect patients from abuse, and managed safety well. Staff assessed risks to patients, acted on them and kept good care records. They managed medicines well.

Staff provided good care and treatment, gave patients enough to eat and drink, and gave them pain relief when they needed it. Managers made sure staff were competent. Staff worked well together for the benefit of patients, advised them on how to lead healthier lives and supported them to make decisions about their care. Key services were available seven days a week.

Staff treated patients with compassion and kindness, respected their privacy and dignity, took account of their individual needs, and helped them understand their conditions. They provided emotional support to patients, families and carers.

The service planned care to meet the needs of local people, took account of patients’ individual needs, and made it easy for people to give feedback. People could access the service when they needed it and did not have to wait too long for treatment.


The provider did not have effective processes in place to check that risks were reviewed in a timely way, or that important tasks had been completed, such as checking medicine stocks, checking that the emergency equipment was safe and cleaning.

Incident reports were not always fully completed, and managers could not provide evidence that the service was investigating and learning from complaints and incidents.

The safeguarding policy did not reflect current practice for safeguarding children. Not all therapy staff had completed safeguarding training, in line with the hospital’s target.

Not all non-clinical staff received an annual appraisal.

The report will be published on the CQC website today, Wednesday, December 15.

The Care Quality Commission (CQC) is the independent regulator of health and social care in England. We make sure health and social care services provide people with safe, effective, caring, well-led and responsive care, and we encourage care services to improve. We monitor, inspect and regulate services to make sure they meet fundamental standards of quality and safety and we publish what we find to help people choose care.

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