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Colchester: Colchester Hospital Trust comes under renewed scrutiny following report

10:14 25 October 2013

Colchester General Hospital

Colchester General Hospital

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Hospitals in north Essex have come under renewed scrutiny after they were identified as high risk in a new report.

Analysis by the Care Quality Commission (CQC) regulator found Colchester Hospital University NHS Foundation Trust to be among the top quarter of trusts in the UK generating the most serious level of concern, and reported there were higher than expected death rates across its hospitals.

The trust, which manages Colchester General Hospital and Essex County Hospital, was also found to have a high risk in terms of the complaints made to the CQC and the number of whistle-blowing alerts from staff.

Mortality rates from blood disorders and the treatment of hip replacement patients were also singled out as areas of concern.

The findings come in the wake of the high-profile Keogh Report into patient care in July, which called on the Colchester Hospital Trust to make improvements in key areas.

Health chiefs in Colchester last night said were “focused on doing everything possible to help us achieve our aspiration of consistently excellent hospitals and care”.

A total of 161 acute trusts across England were examined by the CQC against more than 150 indicators in an new approach called “intelligent monitoring”.

The commission said the report will act as a screening tool to identify which trusts need the most rapid inspections and where inspectors need to focus their attention.

All 161 trusts were divided into six bands, with band one being the highest risk and band six the lowest.

Colchester Hospital Trust was placed in band two among 44 trusts to be placed in the two bands with the highest risk. Ipswich Hospital NHS Trust was also designated as band two while Basildon and Thurrock University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust was given a band one rating.

A spokesman for Colchester Hospital Trust said: “The quality of the care and treatment we provide at Colchester General Hospital and Essex County Hospital was comprehensively reviewed as part of the Keogh process just four months ago.

“It confirmed that overall both of our hospitals are improving but that we need to make further changes and to accelerate the pace of improvement.

“We have reported publicly on the progress we’ve made against our improvement programme and remain focused on doing everything possible to help us achieve our aspiration of consistently excellent hospitals and care.”

At the CQC, chief inspector of hospitals, Professor Sir Mike Richards said intelligent monitoring helps to give a good picture of risk within trusts.

He said: “We aim to publish the results at regular intervals. They will provide the basis for constant contact with NHS hospitals and other NHS organisations, and may lead to inspections in response to particular issues.”

The intelligent monitoring tool was also welcomed by Professor the Lord Darzi of Denham, who said: “There is a huge amount of data available about our health services, but to be useful it needs to be focused on those indicators that give the clearest picture of the quality of care.

“The intelligent monitoring tool helps CQC make best use of the data so it can look more deeply at issues of concern. It is an important development.”

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