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Worcestershire trust has special measures extended further

The special measures rating slapped on an NHS trust in December 2015 will be extended by three to six months after the CQC found that care at the trust was still not improving.  

The extension has been implemented to give the new executive team at Worcestershire Acute Hospitals (WAH) NHS Trust time to improve its staffing levels, governance, investigation of clinical incidents and hospital culture.

At the start of this year, the trust was given a warning notice by the CQC and told to improve care or face administration, and since then inspectors have been back to the trust and will publish a report into its progress in July.  

WAH, which runs Worcestershire Royal Hospital, Kidderminster Hospital and Treatment Centre and Alexandra Hospital, was placed into special measures over a year ago, but inspections carried out in November and December 2016 found the trust to still be Inadequate overall.

In terms of being safe, responsive and well led, the trust was inadequate, whilst it was rated as requires improvement for being effective, and good for being caring.

“We found a number of serious problems when we inspected the services run by Worcestershire Acute Hospitals NHS Trust,” said Professor Sir Mike Richards, the chief inspector of Hospitals at the CQC. “Rather than getting better, our latest inspection shows a noticeable decline in ratings.”

Sir Mike also stated that since being placed in special measures, there had been little evidence of improvement to date.

“During our December inspection, we rated the trust inadequate for safety, responsiveness and being well-led,” he continued. “This is extremely concerning, both in terms of the quality of care that people can expect from the trust, and for what it says about the trust’s ability to improve.

“This situation must not be allowed to continue and we are considering, along with partner agencies, the best option available in order to improve services rapidly for the local population.”

Other issues at the trust included regular breaches of the 12-hour target for patients remaining in emergency departments and being cared for in corridors, as well as poor staff levels and planning. A lack of privacy and confidentiality for patients was also underlined as problematic.

New CEO apologises to patients

Since the CQC’s inspection a new chief executive, Michelle McKay, has been brought in to steer the hospitals through a tricky period.

She stated that though she was disappointed by the CQC’s findings, she also fully accepted them: “I am sorry our patients, their families and carers have been let down.”

“We want all our patients to get the best care possible and regret that this isn’t currently always happening, but we’re determined to put things right,” McKay added. “Whilst we have made improvements since the last inspection - our children’s and maternity services have improved - we recognise we still have some way to go.

“I am pleased that the reports acknowledge that we are a caring organisation, rating care across our hospitals as ‘good’, and our end of life care as ‘good’. Our staff continue to deliver compassionate care to the thousands of patients who use our services every day.”

She also commented that the trust was working hard to make the necessary improvements needed to make its services better and pull it from special measures.

“Patients should continue to attend our hospitals for appointments, operations and treatment as planned,” she concluded. “Whilst we have improvements to make in some services we are working with focus and pace to address them. Everyone across the organisation is focused on making the changes we need so we can consistently deliver high quality standards for patients across all our services.”

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