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CQC find patients at risk at two trusts

Urgent enforcement action takes place at Dudley, and Shrewsbury and Telford

Mark Gould

Friday, 07 September 2018

Urgent enforcement action has been taken against two NHS trusts this week amid concerns that patients have suffered harm or could be at risk due to poor emergency procedures.

The NHS regulator, the Care Quality Commission (CQC), said on Thursday that it had taken urgent enforcement action following an inspection of Shrewsbury and Telford Hospital NHS Trust at the end of last month.

Heidi Smoult, the CQC’s deputy chief inspector of hospitals, said an inspection last month identified concerns regarding patient safety, “We have now taken urgent enforcement action against the trust to ensure that people always get the care and treatment they have every right to expect. We will provide further information when the legal process allows.”

An inquiry into the trust was commissioned in April last year by the then health secretary, Jeremy Hunt, to look into the deaths of 23 babies and mothers. Last week, NHS Improvement said the investigation, by midwife Donna Ockenden, would look into more than the 23 cases originally planned after claims that about 40 other incidents merited investigation.

Maternity care at the trust in recent years has been the subject of no fewer than six separate inquiries, including one by the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists. Three separate reviews are continuing into the death of a mother and two babies there last December.

Trust chief executive Simon Wright, said: “We have received notification from the Care Quality Commission that they have imposed conditions on us in terms of the systems we have in place around patients who may present with sepsis or other deteriorating medical conditions in our emergency departments and of the environmental safety of our emergency department at the Princess Royal hospital.

The CQC has also taken action at the Dudley Group NHS Foundation Trust following an inspection at Russells Hall Hospital. Inspectors found a number of concerns surrounding the triage, assessment and tracking of patients in the emergency department, particularly with regard to the management of patients with suspected sepsis.

They also found that care records were not always written and managed in a way that kept patients safe and some staff raised concerns regarding the leadership style of some of the executive team, speaking of a poor culture and working environment. As a result of the inspection CQC took action to vary conditions on the Trust’s registration and ordered a range of improvements.

Ms Smoult, said: “We have had ongoing concerns about the emergency department at Russells Hall Hospital and were extremely concerned at what we found during our inspection.

“Patients were not being consistently assessed in a safe way, in particular, whether staff were identifying patients with suspected sepsis effectively. As a result of this we have varied conditions on the trust’s registration meaning it must provide regular updates to CQC surrounding staffing, triage of patients and its management of sepsis.

“Inspectors returned to the department in August to carry out a further inspection and a full report of this inspection will be published in due course. Meanwhile, we continue to monitor the trust extremely closely. We have also continued to escalate our ongoing concerns with partner organisations and to work with NHS Improvement to ensure that necessary steps are taken to improve safety for patients. The trust knows what it must do to ensure people receive the care they should be able to expect and we will return to check on whether sufficient improvements have been made.”

Russells Hall Hospital is currently rated as “Requires Improvement”. This inspection was not rated and does not change the overall rating for the hospital.

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