London’s biggest NHS Health trust placed in ‘special measures’ due to failings at Whipps Cross Hospital

Old Whipps Cross Hospital. Image: Secretlondon/Wikipedia

Old Whipps Cross Hospital.
Image: Secretlondon/Wikipedia

Barts Health NHS Trust, has been placed in ‘special measures’ by the health service regulator.

The Care Quality Commission says it has discovered ‘a culture of bullying and low morale’ at Whipps Cross Hospital, Leytonstone, one of six hospitals run by the Trust across east London.

Inspectors found that urgent and emergency services, medical care, surgery, end of life care, outpatients and services for children and young people were all ‘inadequate.’

Chief Inspector of Hospitals Sir Mike Richards. Image: CQC

Chief Inspector of Hospitals Sir Mike Richards. Image: CQC

Professor Sir Mike Richards, Chief Inspector of Hospitals said:

There is a large section of the population in east London who depend on this hospital and they are entitled to services which provide safe, effective, compassionate and high quality care.

Care Quality Commission inspectors found that:

  • Staff morale was low.
  • There was a culture of bullying and harassment, with some staff reluctant to speak to inspectors in case of repercussions.
  • There were not enough nurses or doctors to ensure safe care was provided.
  • A reorganisation of staffing in 2013 had a damaging impact.
  • Staff were overstretched – and there was an atmosphere which did not help in recruiting or retaining permanent staff.
  • Some agency staff had not been trained properly in their roles.
  • The average bed occupancy was so high that it was affecting the flow of patients through the hospital, with patients admitted to wards which were not appropriate to their needs.
  • Patients were cared for in recovery areas, others were transferred out of critical care beds, despite their clinical needs.
  • People who were well enough to leave hospital experienced long delays in being discharged because paperwork had not been completed, or because transport was not ready.

Special measures means that the Trust is being offered support and guidance on how to improve the situation.

Barts Health NHS Trust chief executive Peter Morris said:

We are very sorry for the failings identified by the CQC in some of our services at Whipps Cross and we know the Trust has a big challenge ahead.

Much has been done but we recognise that more needs to be done.  We will take all the necessary steps to raise quality standards at Whipps Cross. The CQC has made clear that this report is in large measure the result of what inspectors were told by our staff.  We will engage fully with our staff, all of whom have a critical role to play in delivering the improvement required to raise standards further and to provide excellent patient care and treatment.

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