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Helen & Douglas House is rated as ‘outstanding’ by the CQC

We’re thrilled to share that Helen & Douglas House has achieved an ‘outstanding’ rating from the Care Quality Commission (CQC) after a recent inspection in July 2023! Only 10% of UK independent health providers of services for children and young people have been awarded ‘outstanding’ by the CQC (CQC State of Care report 22/23).

The CQC is the independent regulator of health and adult social care in England. They make sure health and social care services provide people with safe, effective, compassionate, and high-quality care and encourage care services to improve. They monitor, inspect and regulate services and publish what they find.

Helen & Douglas House outreach nurse Becky with Anthony_1000x550

Helen & Douglas House improves the lives of terminally ill children and their families in Oxfordshire and the surrounding counties. We help children live life to the full, even when that life is short, offering vital support to families during a child’s life and into bereavement. 

Last year we cared for 430 children and their families and provided 541 supportive stays at the hospice in Oxford, 58% up on the previous year.


Inspectors from the CQC found:

  • The service met the needs of all children and young people who used the service – including those with protected characteristics.
  • All children and young people had a personalised fire evacuation plan, staff were aware of these and knew their responsibilities in the event of a fire.
  • Children and young people received pain relief soon after requesting it. Inspectors saw staff regularly checking pain levels of the children.
  • When things went wrong, staff documented incidents well and the service learned from them to improve people’s care in future.
  • Staff understood and respected the personal, cultural, social and religious needs of children, young people and their families and how they may relate to care needs.

Roger James, CQC deputy director for the south, said:

“When we inspected Helen & Douglas House, we found a service where staff were very knowledgeable about the children and young people they looked after. They knew how to support children, young people and their families in an individual, personalised way and this was reflected in the level of detail in patient care plans.



The service was leading the way nationally in educating third parties on the complex needs of paediatric palliative care. Leaders encouraged innovation and staff participation in research. We saw some staff were on numerous boards that led to the implementation of guidance and legislation and were members of national committees relating to the paediatric palliative care.


This was supported by a skilled leadership team, who led by example to promote an open and person-centred culture. We saw numerous examples of staff going the extra mile, especially regarding make a wish requests. For example, staff arranged for llamas to be brought into the garden where a child or young person and their family were able to walk and feed them. Staff set up a fair ground including rides, in the grounds. Children’s television characters and presenters as well as famous footballers have also attended the site.



The team at Helen & Douglas House should be really proud of the care they’re providing. Other service providers should look at this report to see if there’s anything they can learn about supporting people during such a difficult time in their lives.”

Nadia Slatch first came to Helen & Douglas House in 2014 with her son Zayn who died in 2017. Now her son Rayyan comes for supportive stays and her other children are supported by the siblings’ club.

Nadia said:

“I am so delighted that Helen & Douglas House has been rated ‘outstanding’ by the CQC which is not a surprise to families like mine who rely on the excellent care and support they provide which is a lifeline. Never in a million years did we expect to be a family that needed a children’s hospice.


No family imagines it will be them. But it was for us, twice over. For me it is a home-from-home, somewhere I can relax knowing Rayyan is in the best of hands. I trust them to do a wonderful job and I can never thank them enough.”

Helen & Douglas House outreach nurse Becky with Anthony_1000x550

Jane Long, Chief Executive (CEO), said: 

“We are delighted that the exceptional care we provide to local families has been recognised as ‘outstanding’ by the CQC. Helen & Douglas House is committed to providing world-class care to local families and their children.  I am very proud we are leading the way in paediatric palliative care through research, evolving services and meeting the increasing need for the services we provide.


It is testament to the great leadership of our Clinical Director, Andrea Lambert, Dr Emily Harrop, Medical Director and Clare Periton, our former CEO, who along with the clinical team have made this possible.  I am very proud of the hard work and dedication shown by everyone who works at Helen & Douglas House, who ensure we provide a vital lifeline to local families 365 days a year.”


Andrea Lambert, Clinical Director said:

“It is wonderful to receive this external recognition which reflects the positive comments we receive from the families we care for and supports our aim to be world-class.


This ‘outstanding’ rating recognises our approach of putting the families we care for at the heart of everything we do. We design an individualised care plan for each family, tailored to their needs. We have increased our engagement with families to ensure they influence the care they receive and how the service we provide develops.


We have also increased our service offer in innovative ways to reach as many families as possible. Care we provide at Helen & Douglas House touches many aspects of a child and family’s needs with our service encompassing in-house stays, specialist support at home, medical input, family and bereavement support, social work and specialist play.


The vital care we provide is only possible through kind donations from the general public so if you would like to help more local families, please donate to our Christmas Appeal or come to our Christmas Shopping Preview Day on Sunday 26th November at our charity shops.”

Thank you to our incredible Helen & Douglas House Care Team, everyone who works for the charity and our amazing supporters. We’re incredibly proud of the care we provide and we couldn’t do it without your support.