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Hinchingbrooke to remain in 'special measures' regime

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Hinchingbrooke Health Care NHS Trust should remain in special measures, the Care Quality Commission has recommended.

In a report published today, the regulator said that while a number of improvements had been made at the Cambridgeshire trust, more work needs to be done.

“A number of improvements had been made but further work was needed”

Mike Richards

In January 2015, Hinchingbrooke was placed in special measures after being rated “inadequate” by the CQC.

Private company Circle ran the hospital at the time, but then cut short its contract and Hinchingbrooke has since returned to NHS management.

The “inadequate” rating was based on an inspection of the trust, which took place in September 2014.

However, a follow-up inspection carried out a week before the publication of the original, highly critical report resulted in the trust’s rating being upgraded to “requires improvement” in April.

The latest report, which is based on an inspection in October and November 2015, re-confirms Hinchingbrooke’s overall rating as “requires improvement”.

But its caring rating has been upgraded to “good”, and its well led rating has been upgraded from “inadequate” to “requires improvement”.

According to the CQC, Hinchingbrooke is in a “transition period following structural management changes”, with new systems and processes in place but “yet to be embedded”.

While dementia care on the hospital’s Apple Tree ward was praised as “outstanding”, the CQC said accident and emergency services had deteriorated to “inadequate”.

Outstanding: A member of staff on Apple Tree ward had introduced “sensory bands” for the ward’s dementia patients. These were knitted pockets, embellished with buttons and beads, for patients to wear or hold to give them an immediate focus to explore.

The regulator said it had concerns with infection control and the safety of patients, with mental health issues and risks to potentially deteriorating patients in the department.

Professor Sir Mike Richards, the CQC’s chief inspector of hospitals, said: “Our return to Hinchingbrooke Health Care NHS Trust showed a number of improvements had been made but that further work was needed.

“This is reflected in the trust being rated as ‘requires improvement’ and I have made a recommendation to the NHS Trust Development Authority that the trust remains in special measures,” he added.

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