INSPECTORS have hailed Barnsley Hospice bosses for turning the facility’s fortunes around - just a year after it was plunged into a care watchdog’s lowest-performing special measures category and threatened with enforcement action.

The hospice, on Church Street, Gawber, is now rated outstanding by the Care Quality Commission.

CQC inspectors - who released their report on Wednesday - praised the service for its ‘rapidly improved’ performance and said patients now benefited from outstanding care.

Its remarkable turnaround was lauded by the CQC’s Sarah Dronsfield, who inspected the hospice during its struggles.( She said: “When we returned we were extremely impressed by the substantial improvements the service had made since we last inspected.

“We previously found significant safety concerns regarding the service’s clinical assessment reviews, risk identification of patients, admission assessment processes and Covid-19 management.

“Staff have taken action to comply with these areas and we were delighted to see so many improvements and areas of outstanding practice across the service.

“People are now protected by a strong, comprehensive safety system and the team have a focus on openness, transparency and learning when things go wrong.

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“People are truly respected and treated as individuals with staff going the extra mile to ensure their emotional and practical needs are always met.

“Recent feedback showed that 100 per cent of people said their privacy and dignity was respected and staff were polite and treated them with courtesy.

“We are very pleased to award the service an outstanding rating and the whole team deserve to be congratulated for all their hard work and commitment.”

In the early stages of the Covid-19 pandemic it was revealed that the hospice was facing losses of up to £2,300 per day, causing a huge shortfall for the service.

This, coupled with the furthering effects of the pandemic, had a knock-on impact on its ability to deliver a high-level service to patients, according to former chief executive Julie Ferry, who was replaced by Martine Tune in late 2021.

Ms Tune told the Chronicle: “We are delighted - the last couple of years have been extremely challenging for the hospice and I am incredibly proud of how the team have pulled together to ensure the necessary steps were taken to improve our service.

“Providing the best specialist palliative and end-of-life care for our community is at the heart of what we do, and will continue to be the driving force for us moving forward.

“We are committed to ensuring that our service remains outstanding whilst looking for ways to continue improving, and raise the vital funds required to sustain the hospice.

“I would like to thank our wonderful local community for their continued support.”