Barts NHS Trust slammed by hospital inspectors

The Royal London Hospital, which is managed by Credit: Dominic Lipinski/PA Wire

Two more London hospitals have been rated inadequate by inspectors after the largest NHS trust in the UK, which manages them, was placed into special measures.

The Care Quality Commission (CQC) decided to inspect the Royal London Hospital and Newham University Hospital following its damning review of the already under-fire Whipps Cross University Hospital in March. It led to Barts Health NHS Trust being placed into special measures.

Read more on Whipps Cross: Poor patient treatment, staff shortages, bullying and harassment uncovered at embattled London hospital

Today, the CQC said its inspections at Royal London and Newham University hospitals found patient safety was not given sufficient priority and there was a culture of blame amongst staff.

Low staffing levels in some areas meant they did not provide consistently safe care, and bed occupancy was so high that patients were not always cared for on the appropriate wards.

Some patients also faced delays of more than 18 weeks from referral to treatment and had their surgery cancelled on several occasions due to a lack of beds.

The CQC said it has identified 65 areas where the trust must make improvements.

The chief inspector said there was too little attention paid to safety across the trust, with failures in reporting incidents and auditing, and in dealing with or learning from complaints.

He added: "It is worrying that the trust's directors didn't seem to have confidence in their own data - a basic requirement in assessing their performance. It is all the more of a concern with waiting times which were so long, or that operations were being cancelled.

"While we have found many individual services require improvement, we also found examples of good services at both Royal London Hospital and Newham.

"We met a very committed workforce who felt undervalued by trust leadership, but valued by their patients and colleagues, and their local managers."

For the trust to improve, he said it needed to focus on its working culture and leadership issues, so it could tackle all the problems identified by the inspection.

Sir Mike said the trust as a whole has not made the progress hoped for in dealing with the findings of its previous inspection in 2013, when inspectors found "unsafe" conditions at Whipps Cross including filthy maternity wards and water placed out of the reach of elderly patients.