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A CQC report published today has rated Shrewsbury and Telford Hospital NHS Trust (SaTH) inadequate overall.
Last month, the CQC took urgent action following its inspection of services at SATH’s two hospitals – the Princess Royal Hospital and Royal Shrewsbury Hospital – between 21 August and 21 September.
It placed conditions on SATH’s registration with the CQC and asked staff to regularly update inspectors on the safety and effectiveness of the maternity services.
In a report published today, the CQC rated SATH inadequate overall and formally put it in special measures, although CQC chief inspector of hospitals Ted Baker said he forewarned NHS Improvement chief executive Ian Dalton earlier this month that he anticipated this outcome.
Mr Baker said: ‘I believed there was sufficient evidence that the trust would not be able to make the improvements to the quality of its services without external support.
I asked NHS Improvement to put in place all necessary support without delay and the trust has now been placed in to special measures.’
On 8 November, SATH was placed in special measures by NHS Improvement, so that it could receive external support to tackle the problems outlined during the CQC’s inspection.
CQC’s key findings
The CQC rated SATH inadequate for safe and well-led, requires improvement for how effective and responsive its services are and good for caring.
However, SATH was praised for its ‘outstanding practice’ in the postnatal ward, as the CQC found the trust was exemplary in ‘areas including caring for women and babies, medicine management, leadership, nutrition, hydration, cleanliness, safety and record-keeping’.
The healthcare watchdog pointed out at a series of areas the trust must improve, and placed particular emphasis on the need to review and improve midwifery staffing levels, to make sure women who present to the midwifery unit receive a medical review without delays, and to review its reduced foetal movements policy to guarantee the safety of mothers and babies.
SATH reported two weeks ago that a growing number of families have been approaching them with concerns about their maternity experiences at the trust during a period lasting from 1973 to 2017.
The trust said its dealing with queries put forward by 91 families – separate from the Government-mandated review into the deaths of and injuries to mothers and babies cared for at the trust’s maternity unit between 1998 and 2017.
Mr Baker said the CQC remains concerned about both the emergency department and maternity services at Shrewsbury and Telford Hospital NHS Trust.
This comes despite the trust last week announcing that it’s dropped its intentions to temporarily close the A&E department at the Princess Royal Hospital – which it was considering as low staffing levels were compromising its ability to offer safe care – after managing to recruit a sufficient number of doctors and nurses to cover vacancies.
Commenting on the CQC report, SATH chief executive Simon Wright said: ‘You cannot be unaffected by a report like this. I’m sorry and disappointed that we have not made as much progress to tackle the issues and challenges that the trust faces as we all want.
‘I know how hard staff are working, how passionate they are about what they do and the care they provide. We will take to heart the CQC’s findings just as we welcome the extra support that is coming with special measures, to double down on the need to get things right and improve for the people we serve.’