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Nurse shortages and poor management common causes of trust failure

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Patients on general wards in failing trusts often receive poor care because of a lack of qualified nursing staff, the Healthcare Commission said this week.

A report, which reviewed all of the watchdog’s investigations undertaken between August 2004 and April 2007, also found ineffective management to be a common problem in trusts that have experienced difficulties.

Anna Walker, the commission’s chief executive, said: ‘Good leadership means not taking your eye off any aspects of the trust’s activities – no ifs and no buts.

‘In practice, this means ensuring staff are encouraged to speak up about concerns. Given that modern medicine involves risk, it means monitoring these risks and ensuring that issues such as infection control are high on the management agenda,’ she said.

‘It also means never underestimating what it takes to manage change, as well as ensuring those most in need are looked after properly. Above all, it means boards putting systems in place to turn their vision of quality care into a reality on the wards,’ Ms Walker added.

Responding to the report, Gill Morgan, chief executive of the NHS Confederation, said: ‘The majority of boards ensure the good running of their trusts and we all want to work with the healthcare commission to ensure this good practice is spread.’

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