CQC publishes new ‘shocking’ report into Colchester hospital trust

Press conference on Care Quality Commission at Colchester Hospital.

Press conference on Care Quality Commission at Colchester Hospital. - Credit: Gregg Brown

Inspectors have published a damning report into the state of care at the trust which runs Colchester’s hospitals.

Graphic detailing latest Care Quality Commission report into Colchester Hospital University Foundation NHS Trust

Graphic detailing latest Care Quality Commission report into Colchester Hospital University Foundation NHS Trust - Credit: Archant

The Care Quality Commission has today released the findings of its latest inspection, carried out in September.

Its overall finding is that the trust remains rated as inadequate, and the CQC recommends it stays in special measures.

A number of serious concerns have been raised, including equipment not being serviced – with one piece not checked since 2009 – dirty equipment, and 32 cancer patients waiting more than 100 days for treatment.

Hospital chiefs have now been ordered to provide a weekly report to the CQC for the next three months, after which the head of the watchdog will consider what next steps to take if sufficient improvement is not made. Frank Sims, the trust chief executive, has pledged to publish a weekly dashboard of progress online for all to see.

CHUFT response to latest CQC report. Trust chairman Alan Rose.

CHUFT response to latest CQC report. Trust chairman Alan Rose. - Credit: Gregg Brown


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Future steps could include, as a worst-case scenario, the trust running the hospital being de-registered and another trust or trusts taking over the services – though with a relatively new permanent board heading up the Colchester Hospital University Foundation NHS Trust this is thought to be unlikely.

The hospital has already started to make improvements, but expects to have a full improvement plan drawn up by February 23, which will be led by Mr Sims personally.

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Trust chairman Alan Rose said within the three month target the hospital needed to be on the right “trajectory”, and added: “We need to be out of special measures this year, because the CQC is a demanding organisation and they want to see a trajectory to a requires improvement rating to good.”

Professor Sir Mike Richards, the CQC’s chief inspector of hospitals, said: “Once again we have found a number of serious problems when we inspected the services run by Colchester Hospital University NHS Foundation Trust.

“I am concerned the trust has not taken sufficient action to address the requirements of our previous inspections and has shown only limited capacity to improve.

“While the staff have been working hard through many issues to drive improvements locally, their efforts have been affected by poor leadership and a high use of agency staff, some of whom are unsuitable in terms of their skills and knowledge.

“We found there was a disconnect between what was happening on the front line and the senior management team – for example the trust board seemed unaware of significant backlogs and patient safety concerns across outpatient services.

“The multiple changes in leadership have made many people lose confidence in the trust. It is clear the trust cannot solve these important issues on its own, and will require continued support for the foreseeable future.

“The trust is now rated inadequate for safety, effectiveness responsiveness and being well-led. This is extremely concerning, both in terms of the quality of care people can expect from the trust, and for what it says about the trust’s ability to improve.

“This situation must not be allowed to continue and we are considering, along with partner agencies, the best option available in order to improve services rapidly for the local population.”

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