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Failing hospitals 'need more help', says chief inspector

More must be done to improve the “safety and responsiveness” of hospitals put into failure regimes, according to England’s chief inspector of hospitals.

While hospitals put into special measures have shown “significant improvements” more must be done to address these issues, said Professor Sir Mike Richards in a report on progress made by the first 11 trusts placed in special measures.

“It is important to emphasise that further improvements need to be made, especially in relation to safety and responsiveness”

Mike Richards

Putting hospital trusts in special measures was a move introduced as part of the government’s response to the Stafford Hospital scandal.

A year ago, following a review into 14 hospital trusts with higher than expected death rates, 11 trusts were put into special measures for a catalogue of failings and fundamental breaches of care.

Sir Mike, the Care Quality Commission’s chief inspector of hospitals, said today in his report that since the trusts were put into the failure regime, 10 of the 11 have shown improvements.

Two trusts put into the regime, Basildon and Thurrock University Hospitals Foundation Trust and George Eliot Hospital Trust, have been taken out of special measures and have received an overall rating of “good” from inspectors, a CQC spokesman said.

Buckinghamshire Healthcare Trust, East Lancashire Hospitals Trust and Northern Lincolnshire and Goole Foundation Trust were rated as “requires improvement” and have been taken out of special measures but with additional support.

United Lincolnshire Hospitals Trust, North Cumbria University Hospitals Trust, Sherwood Forest Hospitals Foundation Trust, Burton Hospitals Foundation Trust and Tameside Hospital Foundation Trust are to remain in the regime for a further six months, despite showing improvements, he added.

Meanwhile, Medway Foundation Trust in Kent is to remain in the failure regime with regulators considering what “urgent action” needs to be taken to ensure quality of care improves as quickly as possible, the spokesman added.

Mike Richards

“The special measures process has brought improvements in the quality of care in most cases, which would have been unlikely without the regime,” said Sir Mike.

“Although there have been improvements, it is important to emphasise that further improvements need to be made, especially in relation to safety and responsiveness,” he said

“Our new inspection model has helped us get under the skin of hospitals. The special measures process is doing what it set out to do, and I am confident that it will lead to further improvements,” he added.

 

Summary: current status of 11 trusts placed in special measures regime in July 2013

  • Basildon and Thurrock University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust – out of special measures
  • George Eliot Hospital NHS Trust – out of special measures
  • Buckinghamshire Healthcare NHS Trust – out of special measures with ongoing support
  • East Lancashire NHS Trust –  out of special measures with ongoing support
  • North Lincolnshire and Goole NHS Foundation Trust – out of special measures with ongoing support
  • United Lincolnshire Hospitals NHS Trust – progress made but to be kept in special measures for at least a further six months
  • Sherwood Forest Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust – progress made but to be kept in special measures for at least a further six months
  • North Cumbria University Hospitals NHS Trust – progress made but to be kept in special measures for at least a further six months
  • Burton Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust – progress made but to be kept in special measures for at least a further six months
  • Tameside – progress made but to be kept in special measures for at least a further six months
  • Medway – limited or no progress made and to be kept in special measures

 

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