Warning notices issued to Whipps Cross Hospital after shocking instances of poor care and hygiene were uncovered last year have been lifted, but many staff reported being bullied by bosses during the latest inspection.
Assessments in May and June found the Leytonstone hospital to have a “systematic catalogue of failings”, including unacceptably poor standards of infection control, safety, equipment availability and support given to staff.
Elderly patients were found to have suffered falls, developed bed sores and were left with food and water out of their reach.
Maternity care at the hospital was also found to be well below acceptable standards.
A report published today by the Care Quality Commission (CQC) after a follow-up inspection reached mixed conclusions about standards at hospitals run by Barts Health, including Whipps Cross.
Unannounced assessments in November showed “many positive findings” including “committed, compassionate and caring” staff, a safe intensive care unit and improvements in the A&E and maternity departments.
Infection control practice was also deemed good.
But many aspects were found to be below basic standards and inspectors said many staff reported bullying by bosses across the trust, which is the largest in England.
Workers are said to have felt inhibited to raise concerns and staff morale was found to be low across all staffing levels.
CQC Chief Inspector of Hospitals Professor Sir Mike Richards said: “Too many members of staff of all levels and across all [Barts Trust] sites came to us to express their concerns about being bullied, and many only agreed to speak to us in confidence.”
He added that there is also a disconnect between the board and the ward and called on leadership to be “far more visible” across all parts of the trust.
“Radical improvements” to patient flow and discharge arrangements were said to be needed, as the current system resulted in some patients having to wait to be discharged or being delayed in other parts of the hospital, thus impacting its overall effectiveness.
Equipment, some essential, in some parts of the hospital was still either unavailable, in short supply, inappropriate or not subject to necessary checks.
Barts Health runs four other hospitals in east London.