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Health trust set to be placed under special measures due to failure to tackle longstanding problems
A hospital trust is set to be placed in special measures to protect patients’ safety after a damning report found bosses had failed to address longstanding problems with the quality of the care.
A Care Quality Commission (CQC) report published today has highlighted concerns over standards at King George Hospital in Goodmayes and Queen’s Hospital in Romford.
It said the leadership of Barking, Havering and Redbridge University Hospital NHS Trust had failed to improve services despite previous warnings.
An inspection team in October examined standards in A&E departments, surgery, intensive care, maternity units, children’s care, end of life care and outpatient services.
Inspectors also made unannounced visits and held discussions with staff and members of the public.
The report found unsafe care in A&E departments at both hospitals and said infection control procedures were insufficient.
A lack of full-time consultants and middle-grade doctors in the A&E departments was said to be compromising patient safety, with patients waiting too long to see a specialist.
The report also found poor management of the hospital’s capacity and discharge procedure was putting patients at risk and causing unnecessary pressure in some departments.
However, the report commended the hospitals for at-home care services, stroke treatment and patients and staff were said to be positive about the trust.
The findings have been presented to a panel of NHS commissioners and regulators in order to develop a plan of action to raise standards.
CQC chief inspector of hospitals, Professor Sir Mike Richards, said: "This trust has demonstrated that it is capable of making significant changes to the quality of services.
"It is very disappointing that this good work has not been replicated throughout the trust.
“The longstanding issues in the two A&E departments are clearly affecting patients and all attempts to address these problems over the last few years have had insufficient impact.
"While we understand that this trust serves a large and diverse population, and that the leadership team is trying to resolve the issues, it’s clear to us the trust is unable to do so without help.
“That’s why I’ve recommended that the trust should be placed in special measures in order to give it the support it needs to tackle the issues it faces."
The trust has said services at the hospitals will continue as normal and maintains that services are continuing to improve.
Chief executive Averil Dongworth said: "There are three very important factors which we must not lose sight of today.
"First, the CQC has recognised the good quality of patient care provided by our staff and sustained improvements to our services.
"Secondly, our patients need to know that it is business as usual. They can rest assured that our hospitals are performing well in many areas, services are continuing to improve and we are clear on where more effort must go.
"Thirdly, today's decision provides the opportunity for the whole health system to come together to give our hospitals the level of support that we have been asking for.
"We must now all work together to address the long-term issues that we have been facing once and for all."
In 2012 the trust faced legal action from 12 mothers or their families over the standard of care they received in the maternity unit at Queen’s Hospital.
The A&E department at King George has been earmarked for closure.
Last month it was revealed the trust was the only London hospital trust to miss its government target for waiting times every month since November last year, with only 82 per cent of patients being seen and treated within four hours.
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