A new way of assessing UK hospitals has delivered an overall clean bill of health to Airedale Hospital.
In September the hospital foundation trust was one of the first to be inspected under a revamped system introduced by the Care Quality Commission (CQC).
The assessors’ report, published last week, concludes that patients at Airedale are generally happy about the care they receive.
It adds that the hospital has impressively high levels of volunteering, along with stable and experienced leadership.
But it also notes some concerns about staffing levels on some wards, including those for older people. England’s chief inspector of hospitals, Professor Sir Mike Richards, said: “We found Airedale to be well-managed, with clinical and managerial teams delivering positive outcomes for patients and fostering an excellent volunteering ethos.
“Services were generally safe, and staff assessed patients’ needs and provided care to meet those needs.
“There were procedures in place to keep people safe, and records were maintained to a good standard in most areas.
“However, staff shortages in wards for older people meant that patients did not always receive care promptly.
“Services were delivered effectively, and outcomes for patients were mostly as expected or better than expected.
“All key targets were being met or exceeded. Patients said they were satisfied with how they had been treated, and that doctors, nurses and other staff were caring and professional. Staff respected patients’ dignity and privacy.
“Overall, patients were treated promptly and complaints and concerns were handled appropriately.
“Individual services were generally well-led, though we had some concerns about leadership within the critical care unit.”
Responding to the report’s findings, Airedale NHS Foundation Trust chief executive Bridget Fletcher said: “We welcome this report. Overall it’s very positive and I’m very proud of the staff who work here. It’s been great to have several fresh pairs of eyes looking in detail at what we do.”
Ilkley MP Kris Hopkins also welcomed the report, which he said was testament to the leadership of the hospital’s management and professionalism and dedication of its staff.
He said: “There are some areas where the commission believes improvements can still be achieved.
“That is to be expected and I have no doubt that the trust is already considering an appropriate way forward.
“But it is overwhelmingly the case that inspectors were deeply impressed by what they saw and the people they met.”
Among the areas singled out for praise by the inspection team were the hospital’s privacy and dignity room, and its ability to electronically access important up-to-date information about its patients.
The team’s advice to Airedale on how it can improve included reviewing nurse staffing levels in some wards and enhancing staff access to mandatory training.