Hospital trust remains in special measures but on road to recovery

Queen's Hospital, in Rom Valley Way, Romford, which is run by the Barking, Havering and Redbridge Un

Queen's Hospital, in Rom Valley Way, Romford, which is run by the Barking, Havering and Redbridge University Hospitals NHS Trust - Credit: Archant

The trust that runs Queen’s Hospital remains in special measures as A&E waiting times are below targets and outpatient services are struggling to meet demand.

Despite this, inspectors from the Care Quality Commission (CQC) reported “significant progress” had been made since December 2013’s report placed Barking, Havering Redbridge University Hospitals Trust (BHRUT) into special measures.

The report published yesterday (Thursday) found a number of problems persist in A&E department, although improvements have been made there are still significant delays at some times and not enough skilled staff.

Chief executive of BHRUT Matthew Hopkins said: “The point the CQC rightly makes is that the number of doctors, particularly senior doctors, is not adequate to assure them and that’s something we will be looking at.”

The trust has highlighted improved waiting times in the months since March’s inspection.

In June, 94.5 per cent of patients were seen within four hours across Queen’s and King George Hospitals, just missing the 95pc target – but in December levels fell to 76.8pc.

Outpatient services were judged to be inadequate, with inspectors noting 15pc of appointments were cancelled, health records were not always available and some medication stored there was out-of-date.

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Inspectors also raised concerns that a shortage of critical care beds was affecting between 100 and 200 patients across the trust each month, resulting in procedures being cancelled and patients facing long waits in A&E.

A number of improvements were seen in the maternity department including the way women felt about the service, leadership and culture. But more consultant obstetricians were needed.

End of life services at Queen’s and King George Hospital, in Goodmayes, were the one area found to be good, while outstanding practise was seen in several services including stroke, dementia and oral chemotherapy.

Throughout the extensive report inspectors noted the “compassion and kindness” of staff and their desire to deliver high quality care to patients.

Mr Hopkins said: “We are making great strides in improving care for our patients and have set strong foundations to continue our journey to become outstanding. Our staff and patients have worked incredibly hard to get us this far and we will now focus our efforts on continuing our patient journey.”

Inspectors will return to the hospital in the coming months.