Bosses at King’s Mill Hospital have apologised to patients after it emerged that it is in a worst state now than when it was placed in special measures in 2013.
Shock figures released today showed that the hospital, run by Sherwood Forest Hospitals NHS Trust, still had extremely high levels of deaths from blood infection sepsis, and that the trust had failed to tackle all but one demanded area of improvement - according to the CQC report.
Karen Fisher, acting chief executive at the trust, said: “We are extremely disappointed about the shortfalls the Care Quality Commission has identified. We are sorry we have let down our patients by not meeting the high quality standards they rightly expect. We have made a new start and are working hard to make the necessary improvements.”
She also welcomed the support from Monitor.
And despite the obstacles, the trust was rated as ‘good’ for caring, as staff were seen to be hard-working, passionate and caring. And the CQC added that there has been progress in some other areas.
Staff were also praised for going out of their way to meet patients’ needs in the critical care unit and generally, patients and visitors said they are happy with the service they receive.
Ms Fisher added: “Our staff continue to deliver this compassionate care to the hundreds of patients who use our services every day.
“We will treat almost 1,700 patients today, as most days, and we want to reassure patients and the public that they should continue to attend our hospitals for appointments, operations and treatment as planned. Whilst we have improvements to make in some services we are working with focus and pace to address them.”
And she also said a key focus for the trust to move forward would be to make sure the management team are there to deliver.
“Stability for us is absolutely key in all this.We need to focus on each patient getting the care that is absolutely right for them.
“And for this, we need strong leadership on every level,” she told Chad.
The regulators have decided to bring in bodies to strengthen the current team at the trust, including Peter Reading, an experienced former NHS chief executive who helped to improve Peterborough and Stamford Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, whose sole responsibility will be to support the current executive team at the trust.
Eric Morton, who has already helped several other trusts get out of special measures, will be the new ‘improvement director’.
Suzanne Banks, who has worked at various trusts, such as the Mid Staffordshire NHS Foundation Trust, is the new director of nursing and Fiona Wise, currently the improvement director at University Hospitals of Morecambe Bay NHS Foundation Trust, will be working to improve the maternity unit.
Professor Sir Mike Richards, the chief inspector of hospitals is also writing to the Secretary of State for Health to outline his concerns because the trust has already been in special measures for more than 18 months.
The death rates for patients with sepsis was almost double the national average between April 2014 and February 2015, adding to the high mortality rates.
CQC inspectors also found evidence the trust did not always report incidents to agencies in an open and transparent way - something NHS managers have a responsibility to do.
They also found essential lifesaving equipment was missing from one of the three resuscitation bays at Newark Hospital, meaning that the equipment would not be available if somebody went into cardiac arrest.
Professor Richards added: “When concerns were raised or things went wrong, the approach to reviewing and investigating causes was insufficient. There was limited evidence of wider learning from events or action taken to improve safety.”
“It is clear that the trust cannot solve these important issues on its own, and will require continued support for the foreseeable future.
“It would not be appropriate to recommend that the trust leave special measures.”
The CQC has now told the trust it must make improvements in a number of areas, including:
• All patients over the age of 75 must receive a cognitive assessment when arriving in the emergency department at Kings Mill Hospital.
• Lifesaving equipment in the maternity service at Kings Mill Hospital must be checked regularly and consistently to ensure it is safe to use and properly maintained.
• Staff must receive effective and appropriate guidance and training about the assessment and treatment of sepsis.
• Staff at Newark Hospital must have the appropriate qualifications, competence, skills and experience to care for and treat children safely in the minor injuries unit.
• Staff must have opportunities to learn from incidents across the trust.
• The trust must ensure that medication is monitored, in date and fit for purpose in all clinical areas of the children’s and young people’s service.
• Care plans must be individual and specific to the patient to ensure staff are aware how to deliver care to patients which meets their needs.
• Systems and processes to prevent and control the spread of infection are operated effectively and in line with trust policies, current legislation and best practice guidance.