World-leading cancer centre The Christie downgraded after inspection by regulator

The Christie has had its rating downgraded. Credit: ITV News

A world-leading cancer hospital in Manchester hit by claims of alleged staff bullying has had its rating downgraded by a regulator.

The Care Quality Commission (CQC) told the Christie NHS Foundation Trust it 'requires improvement' when it comes to safety and leadership.

A previous external review, commissioned by NHS England in 2020, found current and former staff had reported "instances of inappropriate behaviours and unfair treatment... feeling intimidated...the existence of cliques, the abuse of positional power".

Reviewers added: "An experience of bullying, harassment and racial prejudice was described along with lack of respect at work."

The Christie is the largest single site cancer centre in Europe, treating more than 60,000 people a year. Credit: MEN Media

In the new CQC report, the trust's overall grading was downgraded from 'outstanding' to 'good', with safety and well led marked as requires improvement.

The report said: "Staff told us that some senior leaders were not always visible or approachable...

"Very senior executives were heavily invested in the promotion and protection of the trust's reputation.

"This impacted negatively on some staff; staff did not always feel supported and valued.

"A minority of staff expressed reservations about raising concerns and others did not always feel listened to. Although, staff remained focused on the needs of patients receiving care."

The Care Quality Commission told the trust it 'requires improvement'. Credit: PA Images

The CQC said it carried out an unannounced inspection of the acute medical services at the Christie's main site as part of its "continual checks on the safety and quality of healthcare services".

It added: "Inspectors also undertook an announced well-led inspection of the overall trust partly due to information of concern received from whistleblowers regarding the culture and leadership of the trust.

"Following this inspection, the overall rating for the trust has changed from outstanding to good."

However, the team of experts said they did find outstanding practice at the trust and that, in medical care, "we found staff treated people with compassion and kindness, respected their privacy and dignity and met people's individual needs".

The Christie is the largest single site cancer centre in Europe, treating more than 60,000 people a year.

It serves a population of 3.2 million people across Greater Manchester and Cheshire but more than a quarter of people treated there are referred from elsewhere in the UK.

Ann Ford, CQC's director of operations in the north, said although the trust had made some changes to improve the culture, "more work needs to be done to address the issues we identified".

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