Hospitals on 'struggling' list tackled
The Health Secretary has promised to "get to the bottom" of problems in NHS hospitals after a review showed more than a quarter of trusts may not be offering safe, high-quality care.
A new list has been drawn up of struggling NHS institutions, with two South West hospitals being placed in the second to worst band – the Royal United Hospital, in Bath, and the Weston Area Health NHS Trust, in Weston-super-Mare.
Jeremy Hunt said a new, "rigorous" inspection regime from the Care Quality Commission (CQC) would identify those trusts that need to be sorted out, including placing them in special measures if necessary.
FREE WHEATGERM WITH EVERY POND HEATER www.blagdon-water-gardens.c...View details
Protect your pond fish this winter. Purchase the resun 100w pond heater £39.99 from www.blagdon-water-gardens.co.uk and we will give you a pot of Tetra wheatgerm 1l winter fishfood worth £4.99 FREE
Contact: 01934 316673
Valid until: Friday, February 28 2014
It comes as analysis by the CQC found 44 trusts out of 161 had the highest risks, including higher than expected death rates across their hospitals.
Some trusts were flagged for incidents resulting in harm to patients while others scored low on patient satisfaction or came to attention over whistleblowing staff.
The 161 acute trusts across England were examined by the CQC against more than 150 indicators.
The report will act as a screening tool to identify which trusts need the most rapid CQC inspections and where inspectors need to focus their attention.
Mr Hunt told BBC Radio 4's World At One the figures were worrying but said "what the public should be reassured by is, first of all, we are never again going to have a situation where the NHS knows information that the public doesn't."
In the CQC analysis, 161 trusts were divided into six bands, with band one being the highest risk and band six the lowest.
There were 44 trusts in the two bands with the highest risk, with 24 trusts in the highest possible band one.
The CQC is using the data – called intelligent monitoring – to inform its new inspection regime of all NHS trusts by December 2015. It stressed today's data was not a final judgment on the trusts. he CQC's chief inspector of hospitals, Professor Sir Mike Richards, said: "As a doctor, I liken intelligent monitoring to a screening test; our inspection combined with intelligent monitoring provides the diagnosis, following which we make a judgment, which will in turn lead to action."
Helen Blanchard, director of nursing, at Bath RUH said: "The Care Quality Commission visited a number of our wards in June and observed very good nursing care and warm interactions between staff and patients. However, there are clearly areas where we need to improve and we are addressing each of these issues. We have already taken action to ensure that key nursing documentation is properly completed when patients have been assessed to determine the care they require and when that care has been provided.
"Matrons and sisters are making sure that documentation, such as nutrition and hydration records, discharge plans and comfort rounds, has been completed correctly.
"We take the privacy and dignity of our patients very seriously and, although it is disappointing that inspectors found occasions where privacy and dignity was not upheld, I firmly believe these were isolated incidents.
Inspectors also criticised aspects of our older people's care. Improving care for this group of patients is one of our main priorities, and our new Combe Ward has been designed and completely refurbished with the dementia patient in mind."
"I know how much of a disappointment this report will be to everyone who works here."
The CQC visited Weston General Hospital in April, and raised two areas of concern – over privacy and dignity standards for patients, and care and welfare standards.
Weston was also found to be non-compliant on three CQC standards relating to medicines, record keeping management and staffing levels.
Promising to take "immediate action" the hospital introduced various initiatives.
As a result the two warning notices issued to the hospital have since been removed.
Chief executive Nick Wood said: "Every member of staff at Weston General Hospital has worked tremendously hard and pulled together."