Staff working for the Worcestershire NHS Acute Trust have been told it must improve or face sanctions from the Care Quality Commission.

The Trust which runs the Worcestershire Royal Hospital, The Alexandra Hospital in Redditch and Kidderminster Hospital has been told it must improve by 10th March or face penalties which could include special administrators being brought in.

The Trust has been issued with a Section 29A warning notice from the Care Quality Commission following an inspection in November last year.

Worcestershire Acute NHS Trust has been in special measures since December 2015 after it was rated "inadequate" by CQC inspectors.

Staff were told in a leaked email, 'as staff we must all be held accountable for our actions.'

In November 2015, maternity services were removed from the Alexandra Hospital in Redditch and all babies since then have been delivered at the Worcestershire Royal Hospital. The trust said the emergency measure was because it could not recruit enough specialist nurses. Since then, children's A&E services have also moved to Worcester.

Staff have been told they will be briefed across all three hospitals sites on Thursday 2nd February. Worcestershire Acute NHS Trust confirmed to ITV News that it had been sent a letter from the CQC on Friday 24th January and would brief journalists on Wednesday 1st February.

Credit: ITV News.

The announcement comes just weeks after two patients died at Worcestershire Royal Hospital's A&E. It is understood in one of the cases, a female patient on an emergency trolley on a corridor within the A&E department suffered an aneurysm and later died in a resuscitation bay.

Another patient died after suffering a cardiac arrest on another A&E trolley within the department after waiting 35 hours for a bed elsewhere in the hospital.

News of the deaths came as it emerged that overflowing A&E departments shut their doors to patients more than 140 times in December.

Data from NHS England for December 1 to January 1 this year shows there were 143 A&E diverts across England, a 63% rise on the 88 recorded for December 1 to January 3 the previous year.

Worcestershire Acute Hospitals NHS Trust confirmed investigations into the deaths were ongoing.The spokesperson confirmed that the deaths of both patients will be reviewed by the Trust as are the deaths of all patients in hospital as normal practice.

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