Final condition lifted from Havering’s troubled health trust by watchdog - but concerns remain

The last of a series of improvement commands imposed on Havering’s troubled hospital trust by a health regulator has been lifted this week, but concerns remain.

The last of a series of improvement commands imposed on Havering’s troubled hospital trust by a health regulator has been lifted this week, but concerns remain.

Maternity and midwifery bosses are now employing “sufficient numbers of staff with the appropriate skills, knowledge, experience and qualifications to meet the needs of patients at [Romford’s] Queen’s Hospital”.

It was the last of eight conditions slapped on Barking, Havering and Redbridge University Hospitals Trust by NHS watchdog Care Quality Commission (CQC) in March 2010.

The trust has welcomed the decision, but the CQC has said the condition no longer represented an “up-to-date” picture of the trust’s problems and that there was still “moderate” concerns regarding a maternity unit.

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The regulator had called on the trust - which runs Queen’s Hospital, in Rom Valley Way, Romford, and King George Hospital, in Goodmayes - to make improvements to “five essential standards of quality and safety”.

However, the trust is also the subject of a separate major probe by the same regulator after inspectors raised “serious concerns” about patient care in maternity and A&E.

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Last week a progress report from that investigation found maternity services at Queen’s had improved but remained substandard, and its overstretched A&E department was a worry.

CQC’s eight conditions to the trust’s registration were imposed a year before the investigation; seven of which were lifted by last summer.

They included concerns related to resuscitation training, appraisals, pressure damage, nurse training, child protection training, the use of treatment rooms, discharge planning and staffing.

All health trusts must be registered with the CQC and some are issued with conditions.

Trust chief executive Averil Dongworth said: “It has taken us some time to reach this stage but we, and CQC, are confident that the improvements made are well embedded and sustainable.

“An enormous amount of work has gone into meeting all of these conditions, from overhauling our training systems to recruiting extra high-calibre frontline staff to ensure that our patients receive top quality care. We will keep up our improvement programme to make sure improvements are sustained.”

A spokesman for CQC said: “CQC has lifted the final condition from the trust’s registration because it no longer presents an up-to-date picture of the concerns it has about maternity services there. The most recent inspection report on maternity services at Queen’s makes it very clear that CQC still has concerns about treatment and care there - and many of these relate to the sustainability of improvements made so far.

“CQC will continue to monitor the trust closely to make sure that the improvements made are sustained, so that all the women treated there get the care they are legally and morally entitled to expect.”

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