Inspection and Regulation


Struggling trust to be removed from special measures after more than a year

An Essex hospital trust is set to make its way out of special measures more than a year after inspectors hit it with an ‘inadequate’ rating.

Princess Alexandra Hospital NHS Trust (PAH) saw its overall rating increase today, after a CQC report found that “significant improvements” had taken place in the services provided by the organisation.

It was placed in special measures by NHS Improvement (NHSI) in October 2016 after inspectors uncovered “a number of concerns” relating specifically to waiting time targets and emergency care.

Professor Ted Baker, the CQC’s chief inspector of hospitals, said staff and leadership knew what they needed to do to continue improving but “should be proud of their achievements.”

“Our inspectors found dedicated staff at the trust who had worked hard to ensure improvements were made,” he commented. “They also witnessed a number of areas of outstanding care, particularly in the children and young people’s service, all of which was fantastic to see.

“As a result, a number of ratings for the trust’s services and in the key questions CQC asks when it carries out its inspections have changed. While the trust’s overall rating has improved, how effective and well-led the trust’s services also improved to be rated as ‘good’ overall. Previously we rated whether the trust was well-led as ‘inadequate’ overall, while the rating for whether services were effective was ‘requires improvement’.”

There were a number of areas where inspectors recommended improvements, including hitting mandatory training targets and working to increase the annual staff appraisal completion rates.

The CQC also suggested that leaders work to address mixed gender accommodation in breaches in the critical care unit, as well as taking action to ensure that patients arriving into the emergency department are properly triaged in a timely and appropriate manner.

However, PAH chief executive Lance McCarthy, said the latest report showed that the organisation has “got what it takes” to reach an ‘outstanding’ rating in future.

The inspection, which took place between 5 and 7 December of last year, means the CQC will now recommend to NHS Improvement that the trust be taken out of special measures.

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