ONE of Hampshire’s biggest health providers is celebrating after a glowing report from a national watchdog.

A report by the Care Quality Commission (CQC)has heaped praise upon Solent NHS Trust, which serves more than one million people across Southampton and other parts of Hampshire.

Among the overall findings were the trust “provides safe and effective services” and staff “treated patients with compassion, kindness, dignity and respect”.

The children’s outreach and support team was highlighted for providing “an excellent level of care and support” to patients at home with acute illnesses, while the homeless healthcare team in Southampton was also lauded.

But inspectors have raised concerns over staffing levels for mental health community teams, including ensuring each team includes a consultant psychiatrist.

They also felt that long waiting lists at sexual health clinics meant patients are in danger of being turned away, while the brain injury unit at Portsmouth’s St James’ Hospital should make sure male and female patients are properly segregated.

Prof Sir Mike Richards, chief inspector of hospitals, said: “We found a highly committed and caring workforce that was, for the most part, meeting the needs of all those people safely and effectively.

“We did find some areas for improvement – notably in the capacity and staffing of some community teams and clinics, which meant that people don’t always get the treatment they need as soon as they should.”

He added: “Patients were overwhelmingly positive about the quality of the service.

We found trust staff working together very well across various disciplines to help avoid unnecessary hospital admissions by providing services close to people’s homes.”

The inspection team visited St James’ Hospital, St Mary’s Hospital, Western Community Hospital, the Royal South Hants Hospital and Jubilee House as well as health centres, clinics and community services over four days in March, interviewing a range of patients and staff.

Dr Ros Tolcher, Solent NHS Trust’s chief executive, said she was delighted patients were happy with services provided.

She said: “We are encouraged that an overwhelming majority are happy with the services they receive and how the trust is being run.

“None of the areas of improvement came as a surprise to us and many have already got active plans in place that will contribute to our final submission to CQC.”