Third warning for crisis-hit Shropshire hospitals trust
Shropshire's main hospital trust has received a third warning from the Care Quality Commission over the safety of its services.
In its most recent letter, the regulator warned the troubled provider - which runs Telford's Princess Royal Hospital and the Royal Shrewsbury Hospital - about its intensive therapy unit, medical wards and paediatric care.
It is the third warning letter sent to the trust since August.
Previous letters warned Shrewsbury and Telford Hospital Trust (SaTH) about issues within its emergency department and maternity wards.
The latest letter raises concerns about risk assessments for malnutrition and pressure ulcers not being carried out in medical wards; a lack of consultant cover and appropriately trained nursing staff within the intensive therapy unit; and low levels of trained paediatric staff within the accident and emergency department.
The CQC has given SaTH until March 2019 to address the issues.
If they are not resolved, the regulator has said it will discuss with NHS Improvement (NHSI) what further action to take, which could include appointing a special administrator to the trust.
The CQC rated SaTH as “requires improvement” in 2017, but a subsequent inspection took place in August 2018, for which the final report has yet to be published.
Shortly after the August inspection, the CQC told the trust it could face enforcement action, after staff said patients within its A&E were being treated like “animals and cattle”.
The latest warning also comes amid an independent review into more than 100 cases of potentially poor maternity care.
Shrewsbury and Telford Hospital Trust responds
Dr Edwin Borman, medical director at SaTH, said action would be taken on any matters raised by the CQC.
He said: “The CQC inspection is an important mechanism to ensure all of our procedures and processes are as good as they can be.
“We welcome their observations and are already working to ensure that necessary improvements in record keeping are made.
“It is important to note that, at SaTH, we have had just one avoidable pressure ulcers in the most serious categories (grades three and four) in the last eight months. This was in a patient who had been transferred from another hospital and was the first recorded at SaTH since September 2016.
“In the year to date we have reported six avoidable category two ulcers, which is an improving picture compared to last year when we reported 47 in total.
“In respect of the CQC’s observations on staffing in critical care and emergency department, this serves to highlight what we and our clinicians have been saying for the last three years.
"We know that these services are fragile and this is highlighted by the current discussions which are ongoing around the possible overnight closure of the A&E department at the Princess Royal Hospital in Telford.
“We continue efforts to recruit into these areas.”