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15.12.16

Whipps Cross rated inadequate once again by CQC

 

Whipps Cross University Hospital in east London has again been rated inadequate by the CQC after a comprehensive inspection in July and August of this year.

The hospital, run by Barts Health NHS Trust which serves 2.5 million people across Tower Hamlets and surrounding areas, was given the lowest possible rating for being responsive and well-led, particularly in its surgery, diagnostics and outpatient care. It was rated as requires improvement for being safe, effective and caring.

The hospital was placed into special measures last year over concerns for patient safety and its quality of care. Significant changes were subsequently made to the trust’s leadership at executive and site level under the supervision of NHS Improvement.

Professor Sir Mike Richards, chief inspector of hospitals, said: “In the past year there have been some big changes in the management at Whipps Cross and the hospital is moving in the right direction.

“But there is still a long way to go and CQC will be closely monitoring the hospital’s progress to make sure the quality of care there improves for all patients.”

The watchdog found “important” improvements in Whipps Cross safety and effectiveness since their last inspection, particularly regarding its maternity and gynaecology and services for young people. These services had improved to the extent that they were eventually rated good by the CQC, showing that leadership changes to the trust and hospital are starting to have a positive impact.

However, inspectors noted that the pace of improvement was too slow, with pockets of poor culture still existing such as evidence of bullying and inequality, a longstanding problem at the trust.

Among the problems they found at Whipps Cross were no place of safety room in A&E for patients with psychiatric conditions, inconsistency with providing women with one-to-one care during labour and a chronic lack of compassion towards patients in end-of-life care by failing to provide them with medication even though they were in pain.

The performance of Whipps Cross A&E department was also well below the national target of addressing 95% of patients within four hours of arrival.

Barts Health chief executive Alwen Williams said: “We must tackle all areas where we are still letting patients down. Barts Health will leave no stone unturned to further improve care.”

The CQC’s report identified a number of areas of improvement for Whipps Cross, advising the hospital to improve its bed, theatre and discharge arrangements to encourage better patient flow through the hospital.

Inspectors have also urged the trust to drastically improve the organisational culture at Whipps Cross, ensuring that patients’ pain is monitored and acted upon appropriately and making sure that staff have the skills to record and address health and safety risks.

(Image: c. Katie Collins PA Wire)

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