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Sherwood Forest Hospitals FT comes out of special measures

Sherwood Forest Hospitals NHS FT has been removed from special measures after CQC inspectors found substantial improvements in services.

The trust was placed in special measures following a review by Professor Sir Bruce Keogh in 2013. After another inspection in June 2015, the CQC rated it ‘inadequate’ overall and for being safe and well-led and recommended it remain in special measures.

However, the regulator carried out on an inspection on 18-20 July and has now raised the trust’s rating to ‘good’ for safety and ‘requires improvement’ for leadership.

Professor Sir Mike Richards, the CQC’s chief inspector of hospitals, said: “Special measures is designed to provide intensive support to struggling trusts and Sherwood Forest Hospitals NHS FT clearly gained from the special measures regime and the support it provided.

“The trust’s staff and leadership should be proud of their achievement so far and they know what to do now to ensure further improvement takes place. We will continue to monitor the trust and this will include further inspections.”

The CQC praised the trust for a number of improvements in key areas, particularly managing deteriorating patients and screening them for sepsis where necessary.

Other areas of improvement included keeping wards and clinical areas clean, implementing systems for reporting and learning from mistakes, managing patients’ pain and food and drink needs, and reducing overdue appointments.

There were high numbers of nursing staff vacancies and high use of bank and agency staff, but inspectors said the trust managed staff levels appropriately and was carrying out recruitment.

However, the CQC highlighted a number of areas for improvement. For example, it said the trust should ensure that the systems it has developed for monitoring risk to patients and service quality are fully sustained and part of the organisational culture, and ensure staff understood the requirements of the Mental Capacity Act and deprivation of liberty safeguards.

It also found that oxygen cylinders were not stored in accordance with Health and Safety Executive guidance at Mansfield Community Hospital.

At Newark Hospital 73 out of 183 pieces of equipment used by the outpatient services were recorded as not having received a scheduled annual check, and there was no standardised system for identifying when equipment was clean and ready for use.  But the regulator noted that some of the items had been reported missing but not removed from the check list, and others were issued to patients but not returned.

Earlier this year, Sherwood Forest announced its intention to enter into a strategic partnership with Nottingham University Hospitals NHS Trust in order to help improve services.

However, it was announced recently that Louise Scull and Peter Homa, who had been acting as chair and chief executive of both trusts, would return to their roles at Nottingham University Hospitals because of delays in the merger process.

Responding to the news today, Peter Herring, the new chief executive, said that he was “immensely proud” of hospital staff’s achievement, but that the ultimate aim was for the trust to receive an ‘outstanding’ rating.

He added that Sherwood Forest would recruit a “significant number” of nurses and clinical staff, focus on establishing “stable leadership”, and remain committed to the partnership with Nottingham University Hospitals.

Last week, Wye Valley NHS Trust, which was placed in special measures back in 2014, was also had the rating lifted.

(Image c. thornypup via Flickr)

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