Foundation Trust exits special measures

A Foundation Trust that was placed in special measures in July 2013, 2 years and 3 months ago, finally exits special measures. Burton Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust was one of the original 11 trusts that were placed in special measures following the report into mortality rates by Sir Bruce Keogh. .

The Trust was rated today as ‘requires improvement’ overall with areas such as patient flow and staffing levels in need of improvement. Significant improvements were noted in the report since previous inspections which led to CQC’s decision to recommend an exit from special measures.

Commenting on the improvements, Professor Sir Mike Richards, CQC’s Chief Inspector of Hospitals, said “I am pleased to be able to make my recommendation to Monitor to take Burton Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust out of special measures. I can say with some confidence that special measures is doing what it intended to do. This is the latest example of what can be achieved by a trust in special measures when there is a clear commitment from the senior leadership team to improve the quality of care, a concerted effort by staff and a package of support.”

Whilst the majority (8) of the original trusts placed into special measures have since exited three of these trusts continue to be subject to the special measures regime. Quite how long is acceptable for a trust to remain in special measures is as yet unknown. However, it is worthy of note that the original trusts that continue to remain in special measures have been party to this process for over 2 years.

Recently the regime has faced fresh criticisms as one of the original hospitals placed in special measures- Sherwood Forest Hospitals- was judged by CQC as Inadequate. Commenting on the special measures regime for the Trust, Professor Sir Mike Richards has said “The trust’s special measures action plan had 18 high level action points to be completed by March 2015. Only one of these areas had been completed by the June inspection, although there has been some progress in other areas.”

Special measures, in relation to Trusts, does appear to be a supportive regime to encourage change with a pairing of the low performing Trust with a high performing Foundation Trust. The Trust is assessed at all levels from the leadership processes all the way through the organisation. Trusts will exit special measures following marked improvement in the quality of care but an exit does not mean the Trust is completely free from concerns; it will however have a reduced level of oversight from regulatory bodies.

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