Leading London NHS Trust placed in special measures

Topics covered: Ridouts professional advice

St George’s University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust was placed in special measures by CQC following an inspection report which rated the Trust as inadequate.

The Trust had been rated ‘inadequate’ on the questions relating to safety and well-led and ‘requires improvement’ for effective and responsive but ‘good’ for caring.  A number of the buildings at the Trust were reported to be poorly maintained and not fit for purpose and operating theatres were included within this.

Professor Sir Mike Richards, CQC chief inspector of hospitals said: –

“I am disappointed we have found a marked deterioration in the safety and quality of some of the Trust’s services since we inspected two years ago, as well as in its overall governance and leadership.”

This very same Trust was rated ‘good’ two years ago which some might say is a disappointing reflection both on the Trust itself and CQC’s inspection regime.  CQC’s current policy is to give those providers that it rates ‘good’ or ‘outstanding’ up to two years before re-inspecting.  On this occasion this appears to have been overly lenient and unfortunately allowed for the quality of the Trust to deteriorate in the interim period.

The Trust has been beset by a number of recent crises with a new IT system that crashed in June and caused a significant amount of turmoil.  It also was the Trust that recently offered to screen pregnant patients by requiring them to show their passports as proof of their entitlement to free non-urgent NHS treatment.

The new chief executive of the Trust, Professor Simon Mackenzie, has stated that the cost will be in the region of £200m to ensure that the hospital services are adequate and take the Trust out of the special measures process. This year alone the Trust has committed to spending £40m on urgent repairs and IT systems.  Some have stated that the Trust was previously too focused on meeting financial targets.  The Board appears to be keen to return the Trust to a ‘good’ Trust and it is hoped it will focus more on the quality of service offered instead of the financial health of the Trust.

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