East Kent Hospitals University Foundation Trust has been put into the special measures regime for failing trusts by the foundation trust regulator Monitor, more than two weeks after the Care Quality Commission recommended the move.
The announcement comes after the FT was rated “inadequate” by the CQC in report which identified a “worrying disconnect” between management and frontline staff.
Senior staff at the trust admitted last week that the rupture between management and employees had resonated across its three main hospital sites.
Trust medical director Paul Stevens told the trust board last week that the mood among staff was “pretty angry” with “a very strong feeling that this disconnect definitely exists”.
“There are lots of things they have been saying which had not been listened to and acted on.”
Monitor said it was taking action because of “serious failures in patient safety and leadership”.
An improvement director will be appointed to support the trust and to hold it to account against delivery of an action plan that it will be required to draw up.
Monitor said East Kent had also agreed to review its leadership and the way it measures patient waiting times.
The intervention comes as the trust pledged to refocus on patient safety by restricting its supply of extra beds, despite predictions of increasing demand.
Its board heard last week that it faced a shortfall of 50 beds by next month, even when the maximum number of beds which could be safely staffed were opened.
Karen Miles, the trust’s associate director of operations, told the board: “This year we are going to open the number of beds that are safe.
“Anything above that we are going to have to have discussions with commissioners.”
The board heard the CQC rating had reflected the extreme pressures that the FT faced last winter.
Julie Pearce, chief nurse and director of quality and operations, said: ‘We can’t do what we did last year when we took the hit.
“Last year, we were putting extra beds up because we felt we had to.”
Trust chair Nick Wells said the trust was disappointed by the CQC report but saw it as a “a catalyst for change in the way that we work with external partners and the staff,’ he added.
2 September 2014