West Hertfordshire Hospitals Trust faces being imminently placed in special measures following a Care Quality Commission inspection.
The regulator’s report on the acute trust is due to be published tomorrow, and it is expected the chief inspector of hospitals Sir Mike Richards will recommend it be placed in special measures.
The trust has a long history of care quality and governance problems.
An independent probe concluded last year that the trust missed an opportunity to uncover major problems in its cancer waiting times management due to poor complaints handling and “lack of continuity in leadership”. This came after the trust apologised for administrative errors that could have led to cancer diagnoses being delayed.
There has been significant change at the top of the organisation within the past 18 months, with a new human resources director, transformation director, chief executive, deputy chief executive, finance director, chief nurse and two operations directors all joining the organisation since July 2014.
The trust had a £16.2m cash boost from the Department of Health in late 2013 to refurbish its hospitals – although bosses said at the time the organisation needed £67m over six years to ensure facilities were fit for purpose.
Until January 2015 the provider’s chief executive was Samantha Jones, who stood down to become NHS England’s director for new models of care. Ms Jones won Nursing Times’ sister title HSJ’s prestigious chief executive of the year award while leading the trust in 2014.
She joined West Hertfordshire in early 2013, succeeding Jan Filochowski.
Under her leadership the trust invested in extra nurses in an attempt to address a longstanding shortfall in staffing levels, and successfully cut mortality rates.
Ms Jones also sought to improve the trust’s governance and management of clinical risk – work which had not been completed at the time of her departure.