Queen’s Hospital trust put into special measures after damning CQC report

Queen's Hospital has seen its first cases of the winter vomiting bug

Queen's Hospital has seen its first cases of the winter vomiting bug - Credit: Archant

The trust running Queen’s Hospital has been put into special measures after a watchdog issued a damning report exposing unsafe A&Es, understaffing, long waiting times and poor planning.

Ambulance queues at Queen's Hospital

Ambulance queues at Queen's Hospital - Credit: Archant

Barking, Havering and Redbridge University Hospitals NHS Trust (BHRUT) must act on a set of “urgent” instructions after the Care Quality Commission (CQC) found recent improvements were not doing enough to tackle problems putting patients at risk.

Special measures are imposed by the NHS when trust managers are not considered capable of resolving systematic failings.

The NHS Trust Development Authority will appoint an “improvement director” to oversee a plan to bring services up to standard.

There will also be a review of senior leadership to see if further action needs to be taken.

Alwen Williams, director of the NHS Trust Development Authority, said care needs to be rapidly improved.

She added: “The Chief Inspector of Hospitals has highlighted the scale of the challenge ahead and this is an opportunity to ensure the trust is able to make lasting improvements to patient care.”

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Inspectors visited Queen’s Hospital, in Romford, and King George Hospital, in Goodmayes, in October.

A&E at both hospitals was found to be unsafe, mainly because of a chronic shortage of senior consultants, demand and capacity issues.

The A&E at King George Hospital, which has historically performed much better than Queen’s, is due to be shut in 2015 as part of a huge reconfiguration of services at both hospitals.

The CQC also found problems with discharging patients, where some were rushed out of hospital to quickly and others had unnecessary waits.

Good practice was found on many wards, with improvements in maternity, excellent stroke care and kind and considerate staff.

But the improvements are not enough to tackle the huge scale of problems the hospitals are facing, according to the CQC.

Inspectors wrote: “Many initiatives to improve quality and safety have only started very recently and it is too early to tell if they will deliver the required improvements quickly.”

BHRUT chief executive Averil Dongworth praised the quality of care and assured patients that it will be “business as usual” at Queen’s and King George.

She added: “Our hospitals are performing well in many areas, services are continuing to improve and we are clear on where more effort must go.

“Today’s decision provides the opportunity for the whole health system to come together to give our hospitals the level of support that we have been asking for.

“We must now all work together to address the long-term issues that we have been facing once and for all.”