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23.05.19

Kettering hospital trust exits special measures after two years

A Midlands Hospital Trust has left special measures by inspectors after two years when they found significant improvements had been made and a “clear vision and strategy” put in place.

Kettering General Hospital NHS FT was rated Inadequate and placed into special measures in April 2017 and criticised for “serious problems” around a lack of leadership and poor patient safety.

The hospital was forced to declare a “black alert” in 2017, urging patients to only come in cases of genuine emergency as A&E demand reached critical levels.

But the CQC has now recommended to NHS Improvement that the hospital trust be taken out of special measures, following an overall Requires Improvement rating.

Inspectors said they found steady improvements, with the trust’s leadership now rated as good due to a mix of the right skills, abilities and experience within the executive directors, while Diagnostic imaging jumped to Good overall after reducing a backlog.

The CQC said urgent and emergency care had improved thanks to new leadership, but warned that it still faces considerable demand pressures.

A number of examples of outstanding practice were found, notably in the maternity service which was also re-accredited with the UNICEF baby friendly initiative stage three in 2018.

Chief inspector of hospitals Ted Baker said: “There were improvements in the majority of the core services we inspected.

“There was a clear vision and strategy developed with staff and the executive team and that managers promoted a positive culture which supported and valued staff, creating a sense of common purpose based on the trust’s shared values.

“However, there is still work to be done in ensuring people always receive the treatment and care they should be able to expect.”

At the end of 2017, the trust hired then NHS England director Simon Weldon as its chief executive, but despite making some improvements, it has remained in special measures for the past two years.

Following the announcement, the hospital’s chief executive Weldon said he was “really pleased” that NHS England, NHS Improvement and the CQC had recognised the progress made, whilst also acknowledging the further challenges ahead.

He said: “I would like to thank all staff for their commitment over the past year – this achievement really belongs to them.

“Their dedication and strong desire to provide good care for our patients shines through in this report.”

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