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Birmingham trust told it still needs to improve on A&E

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Heart of England NHS Foundation Trust has been told it still needs to improve its performance, especially in accident and emergency, by the Care Quality Commission.

CQC chief inspector of hospitals Professor Sir Mike Richards has today published a report on the quality of care provided by the trust. 

Following its inspection in November 2013, the trust was rated as “requires improvement” overall.

“The main areas of concern surrounded overcrowding in the A&E departments”

Mike Richards

Inspectors returned to the trust, unannounced, between 8 and 11 December 2014, following concerns regarding some of its services.

The inspection looked at the A&E, medicine, surgery, maternity and outpatients departments at the trusts three main sites – Good Hope Hospital, Birmingham Heartlands Hospital, and Solihull Hospital.

As a result of the inspection, the CQC deemed the trust should remain rated as requiring improvement.

Sir Mike said: “While there were some areas of good practice, it was clear that significant work was still needed to improve services so that they meet the standards people have a right to expect.

“The main areas of concern surrounded overcrowding in the A&E departments at Birmingham Heartlands Hospital and Good Hope Hospital,” he said.

“We were also concerned that learning from incidents was not always communicated to staff across all three hospital sites and we found issues with infection control at Birmingham Heartlands Hospital and Good Hope Hospital,” said Sir Mike.

“We know that these actions will help the trust… be a better place for our staff to work in”

Andrew Foster

He added that an interim chief executive and medical director were in post when the CQC carried out its latest inspection and “immediate feedback” was given to them so they could begin improvements.

Andrew Foster, chief executive of the trust, said the past year had been a “very challenging one” with multiple concerns over performance, governance, finance, workforce and quality.

“In response to the detailed feedback we received immediately after the CQC visit last December, we took a number of immediate actions to address the specific issues it revealed,” he said. 

“Over the past five months we have worked closely with both of our principal regulators, CQC and Monitor, to develop a detailed improvement plan which will enable us to demonstrate our progress in addressing all of the concerns raised,” he said.

“We know that these actions will help the trust function more effectively for patients and be a better place for our staff to work in,” he added.

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