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Worcestershire Hospital Trust still in special measures and some areas have got worse say CQC inspectors

Credit: PA

- Worcestershire Acute Hospital NHS Trust has been in special measures since December 2015.

- Worcestershire Royal was named as one of the worst in the country by Jeremy Hunt.

- The Care Quality Commission's latest inspection found that while some improvements have been made, some areas had in fact worsened since inspectors last visited.

Between 23rd January and 22nd March 2018, a team of CQC inspectors visited six of the services provided by Worcestershire Acute Hospitals NHS Trust across Worcestershire Royal Hospital, Alexandra Hospital and Kidderminster Hospital and Treatment Centre.

The Trust ratings remain:

- Good for being caring

- Requires Improvement for being effective

- Inadequate for being safe and responsive.

It had improved from Inadequate to Requires Improvement for being well-led.

Previous inspections have raised concerns about the leadership of the Trust, which up until 2017 had an entirely “temporary” management team.

The CQC said the new leadership team understood the challenges they faced.

The Chief Inspector of Hospitals, Professor Ted Baker, said:

Although we found some improvements had been made across the Trust, it was disappointing to find that some areas had not improved and others had declined since our last inspection.

Progress with improvements in services has not been fast or consistent enough. More work is needed by the Trust and its system partners to ensure that all patients receive satisfactory care.

Our main concerns are still with urgent and emergency care, surgery and outpatients which are still rated as Inadequate overall.

The Trust was performing worse than the England average for patients waiting over 60 minutes before being handed over to emergency department staff. Not all patients were recorded as being seen by a specialist doctor despite being referred.

– Chief Inspector of Hospitals, Professor Ted Baker
Credit: PA

Exactly a year ago, a similar warning was issued to the Trust after inspectors found services were declining in quality.

Michelle McKay joined the Trust as Chief Executive in March 2017.

Speaking about this latest report, she said that one of the key issues is flow through the Worcestershire Royal Hospital.

The good news is that work has already started on the long awaited link bridge which will connect the main Worcestershire Royal Hospital building with the neighbouring Aconbury block.

This will give us easier access to additional beds in refurbished wards as early as the fourth quarter of 2018/19 subject to the release of the funds we need.

While that work is under way, we are also focussed on making sure that we can attract, and keep, the best staff with the skills and approach needed to help us meet the challenges we face.

As well as improving outcomes for patients, this will help us to reduce our reliance on costly agency or locum staff, and make a significant contribution to our financial recovery plan.

– Michelle McKay, Chief Executive

A spokesperson for NHS Improvement said: "While there have been some improvements and the Trust has been rated ‘Good’ for caring, there is clearly more to be done to ensure that patients receive a consistently high quality of care. Remaining in special measures continues to be the right approach for the trust and for patients.