Shropshire trust at centre of child death inquiry is rated inadequateBMJ 2018; 363 doi: https://doi.org/10.1136/bmj.k5101 (Published 30 November 2018) Cite this as: BMJ 2018;363:k5101
A hospital trust currently being investigated for child deaths has had its inspection rating downgraded to “inadequate” by the NHS regulator the Care Quality Commission.
In its inspection report into the Shrewsbury and Telford Hospital NHS Trust published on 29 November,1 the CQC said that it had particular concerns about the trust’s maternity and accident and emergency services.
The trust admitted its shortcomings but urged the general public not to lose sight of the good work it was doing and that a third of all categories inspected by the CQC had been rated as “good” by inspectors.
The trust serves a combined population of around 420 000 people from two hospitals: the Princess Royal Hospital in Telford and the Royal Shrewsbury Hospital in Shrewsbury.
An independent review into the trust commissioned by the government was launched in May 2017, focusing on 23 cases of babies’ deaths or injuries while being born, but by August this year the number had increased to 40 before it was widened again in September to include 104 cases.
For the new report the CQC inspected services at the trust between 21 August and 21 September and rated it as “inadequate” overall, having previously rated it as “requires improvement” overall.
After this inspection the regulator took urgent action to protect the safety and welfare of people using the trust’s urgent and emergency services and maternity services by placing conditions on the trust’s registration. The trust was then placed into special measures on 8 November, to give the trust external support to make improvements.
The CQC’s recommendations to the trust include that it must:
Ensure that sufficient and suitably qualified and trained staff are available to care for and protect people from the risk of harm
Keep all environments safe for use
Review and improve midwifery staffing levels to meet the needs of women and keep women and babies safe, and
Improve rates of administering antibiotics within an hour of identifying patients with suspected sepsis.
Ted Baker, the CQC’s chief inspector of hospitals, said, “While we found staff to be caring and dedicated, there is clearly much work needed at the trust to ensure care is delivered in a way that ensures people are safe.
“We remain particularly concerned about the emergency department and maternity services at Shrewsbury and Telford Hospital NHS Trust. We have already taken urgent action to protect people, and we are monitoring the trust extremely closely.”
The trust’s chief executive, Simon Wright, said, “You cannot be unaffected by a report like this. I’m sorry and disappointed that we have not made as much progress to tackle the issues and challenges that the trust faces as we all want.
“But people should not lose sight of many things that the trust does not just well but significantly better than many other trusts around the country.”
Wright added that the CQC had rated 33% of all categories inspected as “good,” the trust had exceeded the national target on time from referral to treatment, and its diagnostic waiting times were among the best in the country.