CROYDON HEALTH services NHS trust and South London Healthcare NHS trust are among six across the country placed on a high risk list by the Care Quality Commission.
CQC’s new chief inspector of hospitals, Professor Sir Mike Richards says he will lead significantly bigger inspection teams headed up by clinical and other experts that include trained members of the public. “They will spend longer inspecting hospitals and cover every site that delivers acute services and eight key services areas: A&E; maternity, paediatrics; acute medical and surgical pathways; care for the frail elderly; end of life care; and outpatients.”
The inspections will be a mixture of unannounced and announced and they will include inspections at evenings and weekends “when we know people can experience poor care”, say the CQC, the independent regulator of health and social care in England.
“Each inspection will provide the public with a clear picture of the quality of care in their local hospital, exposing poor and mediocre care – and highlighting the many hospitals providing good and excellent care.”
Sir Mike will decide whether hospitals are to be rated as outstanding, good, requires improvement and inadequate. Where there are failures in care, Sir Mike will highlight what needs to be addressed and ask the trusts along with, Monitor, the NHS Trust Development Authority and NHS England to make sure a clear programme is put in place to deal with the problems.
Professor Sir Mike Richards said: “There is too much variation in the quality of care patients receive – poor hospitals will need to up their game and learn from the best. “I will not tolerate poor or mediocre care”.
“These new-style inspections will allow us to get a much more detailed picture of care in hospitals than has ever been possible before in England. “Inspections will be supported by an improved method for identifying risks and with much more information direct from patients and their families, and hospital staff.
“Today I am issuing a call to action for clinicians and members of the public to join our inspection teams. “We welcome people with a wide range of experience and expertise.”
Sir Mike has identified 18 NHS trusts representing the variation of care in hospitals in England. These will be the first hospitals to test the new inspection regime. This work will be carried out over the next five months.
The first 18 NHS trusts to be inspected represent the variation in hospital care – six high risk, six low risk and six with a variety of risk points in between. By the end of 2015 CQC say they will have inspected all acute hospitals.
CROYDON HEALTH SERVICES NHS trust said in a statement:
“The Trust welcomes the CQC’s new inspection regime and we are pleased to have the opportunity to demonstrate the recent improvements we have made as well as receiving their feedback on areas they may identify as needing further development.
“The issues flagged through the CQC’s analysis relate primarily to the results of last year’s national inpatient survey, an area which we have recognised needs improvement and that we are currently addressing. “The CQC’s analysis did not identify any risks relating to patient safety or to the leadership of the trust.”
Deputy chief executive and chief operating officer Karen Breen says: “By looking at what we do well and what we can do better, we will ensure we provide high quality compassionate care for patients wherever they use services. “This year we are investing around £6.8m into improving services across the organisation, including the recruitment of more nurses, consultants, midwives and health visitors.
“We will be able to give the inspection teams evidence of where we have already made improvements in key areas – most notably in our waiting for treatment times with 94.7pc of people waiting less than the national 18 week target and our success since April of meeting the national A&E target of seeing 95pc of people who come to A&E within four hours.”
The CQC will be conducting their visit to the trust between August and December this year.
SOUTH LONDON Healthcare NHS trust, which includes the Princess Royal hospital at Farnborough and Orpington hospital, said in a statement:
“We welcome the opportunity to work with the CQC to ensure that as the hospitals currently part of SLHT move into new organisations, the services consistently meet the standards that patients would expect.
“The CQC has made clear that its decision to include SLHT in this wave of inspections is not based on safety or leadership concerns and in the past three years there has been good progress in some safety areas including overall mortality, stroke, maternity and infection rates.
“However, the CQC has found that the organisation is at a higher risk when looking at some care issues that have been identified through patient feedback and complaints, and also some General Medical Council concerns. “The Trust have placed much emphasis on improving patient experience with initiatives such as improving the environment and care for patients with dementia and excellent work with local patient groups on cleaning.
“We are committed to ensuring the safety of our patients and to improving the quality of care. “We recognise that we can improve what we do and look forward to working with experienced experts from the CQC to learn where improvements can be made.”
South London Healthcare also runs some outpatient services at Beckenham Beacon which is owned by Bromley Healthcare.