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'Special administration' option for Shropshire hospital trust if concerns not addressed

By Dominic Robertson | Telford | Health | Published:

Shropshire’s major hospital trust could be one of the only in the country to be placed in ‘special administration’, if plans to address safety concerns are not agreed.

Royal Shrewsbury Hospital

Professor Ted Baker, the Care Quality Commission’s (CQC) chief inspector of hospitals, has written to NHS England outlining concerns over the situation at Shrewsbury & Telford Hospital NHS Trust (SaTH), which manages both Royal Shrewsbury Hospital and Princess Royal Hospital in Telford.

The CQC says meetings are now taking place with NHS England and NHS Improvement, to decide on what action to take.

It says it has not recommended ‘special administration’ - a measure previously used on the scandal-hit Mid Staffordshire NHS Trust, where an inquiry found hundreds of patients had suffered poor care - but that it may be an option if other intervention cannot be agreed.

The Mid Staffordshire Trust was eventually dissolved.

SaTH is already in special measures after a highly critical CQC report and has been the subject of a number of warnings after follow up inspections.

It is also the focus of an inquiry into failures in maternity care which is dealing with more than 1,100 cases, and has led to the police investigating to see if criminal action should be taken.

A CQC report on the trust is expected in the next few weeks. Professor Baker said: “We will be publishing the report from CQC’s latest inspection of medical care provided by Shrewsbury and Telford Hospitals Trust in the coming weeks.”

Urgent

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“In the meantime we are in urgent discussions with system partners including NHS England and Improvement to agree the most appropriate way forward for the trust to ensure the safety of patients and support the necessary improvements in care.

“The trust is currently in special measures and subject to close monitoring.”

In a leaked letter published by the Independent, Prof Baker told NHS England’s chief operating officer, Amanda Pritchard: “This failure to improve demands further action and, as the independent regulator, our only remaining option is to consider recommending trust special administration.”

“This is not an option that is without risk and considering this situation, I feel it is imperative we meet to discuss any alternative action that can be taken.”

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A spokesman for NHS Improvement said it would continue to monitor the trust.

He said: “NHS Improvement put in place a number of supportive measures including more senior nursing expertise, better training and development and improved freedom to speak up procedures for staff who wish to raise concerns and working closely with the CQC will continue to monitor progress made by Shrewsbury and Telford Hospital NHS Trust so that they can provide safer and improved care for patients and families.”

Maggie Bayley, Interim Chief Nurse at The Shrewsbury and Telford Hospital NHS Trust, said: “The Trust continues to work with NHS England and Improvement regarding the support that we need to continue our improvement journey.”

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