ENGLAND’S chief inspector of hospitals says poor patient care has ‘been normalised’ at Shrewsbury and Telford Hospital NHS Trust after a fresh inspection rated both of its main hospitals as inadequate.

In a damning new report, which follows a previous inspection which saw the hospitals trust given the lowest-possible inadequate rating, Professor Ted Baker, the Care Quality Commission (CQC) chief inspector of hospitals, said failing leadership is perpetuating poor care at both the Royal Shrewsbury Hospital and Telford’s Princess Royal Hospital.

The report published by the CQC identified further serious concerns within the trust’s hospitals, as well as ongoing patient safety concerns after focused inspections of the trust’s medical care and end of life care in June.

What did the CQC say?

However, Prof Baker also revealed the trust will now enter an improvement alliance with University Hospitals Birmingham NHS Foundation Trust, and asserted that urgent changes are required.

He said: “We have repeatedly called for intervention to support improvement at Shrewsbury and Telford Hospitals NHS Trust.

“Despite this the trust has not resolved long-standing known issues, and poor patient care has been normalised. This situation must not continue.

County Times:

“The trust has not responded satisfactorily to previous enforcement action. So I welcome their improvement alliance with University Hospitals Birmingham NHS Foundation Trust, which has been prompted following further intervention and enforcement action from CQC.

“This is the first step towards implementing the urgent changes that are required.

“We will continue to carefully monitor the trust to determine whether this drives the required change and will take further action if there is no progress.

“The trust’s board is fully aware of the essential improvements it must deliver. We continue to monitor the trust, including through further inspections.”

Following the inspection, The Princess Royal Hospital remains rated as inadequate overall and Royal Shrewsbury Hospital has been downgraded from a rating of "requires improvement" to "inadequate" overall.

Both hospitals were rated inadequate for being safe, effective, responsive and well-led.

What happens next?

The CQC issued a warning notice to SaTH identifying the specific areas where improvements must be made with a compliance date of September 30, 2020.

Caring was not rated as the inspection team were unable to speak with patients due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

The CQC recognises that services have been affected by the Covid-19 pandemic, but in response to these findings the trust is entering into the improvement alliance.

The trust recognised it was unable to make the changes necessary without further outside intervention.

Inspectors found issues CQC previously identified through ongoing engagement, inspections and enforcement action had not been addressed.

They also found new areas for concern where services had been meeting standards previously.

Risks were not well managed and patient records did not consistently reflect people’s needs and wishes.

Some staff did not have the right competencies for their roles, and the trust’s policies and procedures were not always based on the most recent national guidance.

As a result of inspectors’ latest findings, the trust remains rated inadequate overall.

The trust has been told it must make several improvements, including; implementing effective risk assessments and using processes to learn from incidents, maintaining accurate patient records, ensuring its staff are competent for their roles and ensuring it is fully complying with the Mental Health Act.

What did SaTH say?

Responding to the CQC’s report following their inspection, SaTH chief executive Louise Barnett said: “We welcome the Care Quality Commission’s (CQC) report and accept all the findings following their inspection in June.

“I am determined we take immediate action to ensure a significant improvement in performance and delivery of care at SaTH.

“We have already begun this process. Last week it was announced that SaTH will form an ‘Improvement Alliance’ with University Hospitals Birmingham NHS Foundation Trust (UHB). This new Alliance will enable us to prioritise the development and delivery of a rapid improvement plan that will support clinically safe and sustainable patient services at SaTH.

“Over the coming months, we will be working closely with colleagues at UHB to address the issues raised by the CQC in their report.”