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A London children’s hospital today become the first in the country to be rated as “outstanding” by the NHS watchdog.

Evelina London, which sits alongside St Thomas’ hospital in Lambeth and cares for 55,000 young patients a year, was given the accolade by the Care Quality Commission.

The A&E at St Thomas’ – the emergency department closest to Parliament – was also rated outstanding, the second in London after Homerton hospital A&E to receive the highest possible rating.

Evelina, which is part of the Guy’s and St Thomas’s NHS trust, marked its 10th birthday last year with a visit from James Bond actor Daniel Craig (below).

Daniel Craig at Evelina

The trust was rated as “good” overall following the inspection last September. Staff were found to be committed and delivering high-quality compassionate care.

The CQC’s Chief Inspector of Hospitals, Professor Sir Mike Richards, said: “Guy’s and St Thomas’ sets out to provide world class clinical care, education and research that improves the health of the local community and of the wider population – and if you ask their patients, the vast majority would tell you that is their experience.”

Trust chief executive Amanda Pritchard said: “I welcome this report which paints a very positive picture of the compassion and dedication of our staff.

“I am delighted that the CQC has highlighted so many areas of excellent practice throughout the Trust and has rated both our children’s and emergency services as outstanding.”

However the trust was found to be facing financial challenges for the first time, has staff shortages and had failed for some time to meet 62-day waiting times for cancer treatment.

Within A&E, special mention was made of the security staff who “demonstrated outstanding empathy to patients”. There was praise too for specialist drug, alcohol and homeless services that provided assistance to patients arriving at A&E.