Both of Shooting Star Chase’s hospices have now been given the highest possible overall rating of “outstanding” by the Care Quality Commission, putting the charity in the CQC’s top 3% of health and social care services in England.

Our Guildford-based hospice, Christopher’s, has this week been rated “outstanding” by the CQC following an inspection in July 2016, after the charity’s Hampton-based hospice, Shooting Star House, received an “outstanding” rating in 2015.

The independent regulator of all health and social care services in England give organisations one of four overall ratings following an inspection – and Shooting Star Chase’s hospices are of the 1,918 out of 56,856 inspected services (3%) to receive the top accolade of “outstanding”. A total of 44,488 have been rated “good”, 9,045 “require improvement” and 1,405 have been deemed “inadequate”.

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The unannounced inspection at Christopher’s, which took place in July 2016, focused on five areas – whether the service is safe, effective, caring, responsive and well-led – and CQC officials spoke to families, staff and volunteers; toured the premises; observed care and support activities; and checked records, policies and procedures. The findings of the inspection were published on 5 October 2016 on the CQC website.

In its report, the CQC said: “Christopher’s is focused on the individual needs of the children, young people and parents who they support, at the time they need it in a way and place that best suits them and their whole family. Parents spoke overwhelmingly of the positive support, guidance and healthcare interventions their children had received. They were full of praise for the staff in terms of their kindness, compassion and knowledge about end-of-life matters.

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“Staff were playful, full of energy and maintained a high level of engagement with children, young people and their parents and parents consistently told us how much they valued the normality of the service and the effort staff made to ensure their children had the same experiences as other children. Parents and professionals spoke of a service that was tailor-made for children and their families saying that staff went ‘the extra mile’ with empathy and compassion. The end-of-life support provided was highly personalised and tailored to meet the needs and wishes of each individual child, young person and their family with sensitivity and compassion.”

One parent told the inspectors: “At home I always have to make her aware of danger. But here it feels so normal, she is just a little girl like other little girls. I love seeing her get excited when she knows she is coming here.”

Shooting Star Chase Chief Executive David Burland said the report highlighted the dedication that goes into providing the very best care to families. “This report, and the fact that we are now one of the top health and social care services in the country, is the best possible evidence of the quality of the care we provide to families.

“We were delighted to read such positive feedback from the inspectors who visited Christopher’s and from families who use our service, highlighting the dedication shown by staff and volunteers in order to provide the very best care to families. Special thanks go to Head of Care at Christopher’s, Geraldine Sheedy, and her team for the work they do to make every moment count for children with life-limiting conditions, and their families.”