Cataract care at SpaMedica Widnes graded as ‘outstanding’ by industry inspectors

Patients who attend SpaMedica in Widnes for cataract treatment receive ‘outstanding’ care, according to a recent inspection carried out by industry regulator the Care Quality Commission (CQC), which showed the eye hospital “consistently achieved significantly better clinical outcomes for patients when compared to other similar services.”

The CQC awarded SpaMedica Widnes the highest possible overall rating, praising staff’s commitment to patient care. The inspection report notes that, when patients were asked to give feedback about their experience at the hospital, the words they used to describe the service they received included, “exemplary, excellent, efficient, helpful, kind, caring, brilliant and professional.”

The Widnes site is one of 40 hospitals across England operated by SpaMedica, the UK’s leading provider of NHS cataract surgery. Since the hospital opened in 2019, it has performed more than 7,000 NHS cataract surgeries, with inspectors highlighting that patients benefit from short waiting times to receive treatment: “Patients could access services when needed and received treatment within agreed timeframes and national targets. Between May 2021 and April 2022, patients waited an average of four weeks to be seen by the service against an NHS target of 18 weeks.”

Karen Knapton, CQC’s head of hospital inspection, said: “When we inspected SpaMedica Widnes, we were extremely impressed by the level of care people received. Attending hospital for any kind of medical procedure can be daunting but staff put patients at ease immediately upon arrival, explained their treatment and were extremely caring, kind and respectful throughout their stay.

“We were impressed that the service actively supported people with protected characteristics under the Equality Act or those with complex needs. For example, patients with a learning disability or autistic people were offered additional visits before their procedure to help prepare them.

“We could see that all staff were happy in their jobs and enjoyed providing the best possible care for people. Feedback about the service was consistently positive and the whole team deserve to be congratulated for all their hard work and commitment.”

Following the inspection, SpaMedica Widnes was rated ‘outstanding’ overall and ‘outstanding’ for being effective and responsive to people’s needs. It was rated ‘good’ for being safe, caring, and well-led.

Hospital manager, Sharon Mullally, said: “We’re delighted to be graded as ‘outstanding’ by the Care Quality Commission and it’s been lovely to read the inspectors’ comments about the quality of care we provide to our patients. We know some people can be nervous about having cataract surgery, but we always take the time to put our patients at ease and make the experience as positive as possible for them, and we’re glad this was reflected in the inspection outcome, which is a testament to the hard work of every single person in our team.

“We all share a passion for patient care, and we’ll keep on striving to deliver the best service we can to improve our patients’ vision, give them back their independence, and enhance their quality of life. It’s wonderful to be able to make a difference and we treasure every review and ‘thank you’ card we receive from our patients.”

All SpaMedica’s hospitals that have been inspected by the Care Quality Commission to date have been rated as ‘good’ or ‘outstanding’ and over 7,600 patients have given SpaMedica’s hospitals five-star ratings on the NHS.uk website.

SpaMedica Widnes’ inspection report is available to view on the CQC website. Some of its key findings include:

  • People could access the service when they needed it and did not have to wait too long for treatment.
  • Staff treated patients with compassion and kindness, took account of their individual needs, and helped them understand their conditions.
  • Staff felt respected, supported and valued and were focused on the needs of patients receiving care.
  • Feedback from patients was consistently very positive.
  • Managers monitored the effectiveness of the service with outcomes that were consistently significantly better than the England average when compared to other services.
  • 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.

Well done to our Widnes team!

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