An acute trust that was placed in special measures in October 2014 must remain in the failure regime, after inspectors rated the West Midlands provider as “inadequate” overall.
The Care Quality Commission said that, while some improvements had been made at Wye Valley NHS Trust in Herefordshire, significant concerns remained that needed to be addressed “as a matter of urgency”.
“I am concerned the systems to protect patients from harm were not effective”
Trusts placed in special measures are generally expected to come out of the support scheme for struggling healthcare organisations after 12 months.
Following its most recent inspection, the CQC issued Wye Valley with a warning to make improvements in its systems to assess, monitor and mitigate risks relating to the health, safety and welfare of patients.
In their report, CQC inspectors said the trust was not effectively operating systems to protect patients from abuse and avoidable harm.
However, the trust, which also provides community services, was rated “good” for being caring and the caring in adult community services was found to be “outstanding”.
The CQC found improvements had been made in the provider’s community services, though there were still rated as “requires improvement” overall.
“The report is a high quality piece of work which largely reflects where we’re at”
Service’s at the trust’s main Hereford County Hospital site were found to be “inadequate” overall.
There were not always sufficient numbers of suitably qualified, competent, skilled and experienced staff available, inspectors noted.
The regulator told the trust that consultant cover must meet the Royal College of Emergency Medicine’s recommendations.
Patients were also found to be waiting too long to access services at the trust and that this was being poorly managed.
Professor Sir Mike Richards, the CQC’s chief inspector of hospitals, said: “We found a number of significant issues when we inspected the services run by Wye Valley NHS Trust.
“I am concerned the systems to protect patients from harm were not effective and that governance arrangements did not always ensure that when things went wrong they were investigated and that the trust learned from these,” he said. “This was particularly evident in maternity services.”
Wye Valley remains in ‘special measures’ after 15 months
In a response statement, trust chief executive Richard Beeken said: “The [inspection] report largely reflects where we’re at – an improving organisation.
“But, while the detail of the report highlights the many improvements we have made, the ratings given to some of our core services do not always reflect this,” he said.
He added that the overall inadequate rating given to the trust was “disappointing”, particularly for the many members of staff who have “gone the extra mile regularly during the last year to improve our services”.
The latest CQC inspection took place in September and October 2015.