FURTHER concerns have been raised about a hospice where failings were highlighted by independent watchdog earlier this year.

The Butterwick Hospice, which has facilities in County Durham and Teesside, is being monitored by the Care Quality Commission.

Its three hospices in Bishop Auckland and Stockton were both visited in September as part of a monitoring programme following earlier inspections by the CQC.

Read more: Butterwick Hospice in Stockton is rated 'inadequate' again by CQC

The Stockton Butterwick Hospice and Butterwick House, which looks after children, was rated inadequate in an inspection in 2019, while the Bishop Auckland facility was rated as requiring improvement in March 2020.

The watchdog had last visited in May, when a warning notice was issued in relations to breaches of regulations.

While some progress had been made, the inspection found “significant concerns” and continued breaches of regulations.

The CQC has now issued a notice of decision to impose conditions on the provider's registration.

The facilities were not fully inspected or re-rated following the latest visit.

A spokesperson for Butterwick Hospice said: “We recently had a monitoring visit from CQC following our inspection audit in September.

"As a team, Butterwick Hospice Care, are reflecting on the outcomes of this visit. We are heartened that the response from CQC identifies the progress we have made in key areas of patient safety, governance and systems.

"We acknowledge that there are still challenges to face and our team is working tirelessly to continue making progress. Butterwick Hospice Care is a small, local charity with limited resources that relies on public funding. In spite of the ongoing challenging times we face, we have continued to provide safe, effective care for all our patients and their families, this has been reflected in feedback we have received from our service users.

"We are confident that with the continuing support of our local Clinical Commissioning Groups and fellow palliative care providers that Butterwick Hospice Care will continue to serve the needs of our local community."

Read more: Festive fun on the cards to support Butterwick Hospice

At the Bishop Auckland hospice, inspectors found staff did not always have training in key skills and did not always assess risks to patients. Managers did not always monitor how effective the service was and there is a lack of consistency in the effectiveness of the care, treatment and support that people receive.

However, inspectors did not that there were enough staff to care for patients and keep them safe, the environment was clean and staff felt respected, supported and valued.

In Stockton, concerns were raised about the service not always managing safety issues well or learning lessons from them, staff not always being provided with mandatory training in key skills or safeguarding, and a lack of robust oversight of patient outcome monitoring.

Leaders did not always have the capacity, skills and abilities to run the service, inspectors said.

They did note however that there were improvements in the personalisation of care plans, which were comprehensive and reflective of patients’ needs.

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