A new way of assessing UK hospitals delivered a clean bill of health to Airedale.

The foundation trust was one of the first to be inspected in September under a revamped system introduced by the Care Quality Commission (CQC).

The assessors’ report, published today, concludes that overall, patients at Airedale are positive about the care they receive. It adds the hospital has impressively high levels of volunteering, along with stable and experienced leadership.

England’s chief inspector of hospitals Professor Sir Mike Richards said: “We found Airedale to be well-managed, with clinical and managerial teams delivering positive outcomes for patients and fostering an excellent volunteering ethos.

“Services were generally safe, and staff assessed patients’ needs and provided care to meet those needs.

“There were procedures in place to keep people safe, and records were maintained to a good standard in most areas. However, staff shortages in wards for older people meant patients did not always receive care promptly.

“Services were delivered effectively, and outcomes for patients were mostly as expected, or better than expected. All key targets were being met or exceeded.

“Patients said they were satisfied with how they had been treated, and that doctors, nurses and other staff were caring and professional. Staff respected patients’ dignity and privacy.

“Overall, patients were treated promptly and complaints and concerns were handled appropriately.”

He added: “Individual services were generally well-led, though we had some concerns about leadership within the critical care unit.”

Airedale NHS Foundation Trust chief executive Bridget Fletcher responded: “We welcome this report – overall, it’s very positive and I’m very proud of the staff who work here.

“It’s been great to have several fresh pairs of eyes looking in detail at what we do.”

Keighley MP Kris Hopkins said: “The many positive findings in this report are testament to the visionary leadership offered by management at the hospital, and the professionalism and dedication of the staff who work there.

“There are some areas where the commission believes improvements can still be achieved. That is to be expected, and I have no doubt the trust is already considering an appropriate way forward.

“But it is overwhelmingly the case that inspectors were deeply impressed by what they saw and the people they met.”

Among the areas singled out for praise by the inspection team were the hospital’s privacy and dignity room, and its ability to electronically access important up-to-date information about its patients.

The team’s advice to Airedale about how it can improve included reviewing nurse staffing levels in some wards and enhancing access to mandatory training.

Visit cqc.org.uk/directory/rcf22 for the full CQC report.