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Royal College of Nursing still 'extremely' worried about Shropshire hospital care

By Dominic Robertson | Shrewsbury | Health | Published: | Last Updated:

The Royal College of Nursing has said concerns over care at the county's major hospitals are "extremely worrying" and that support has been offered.

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

It has emerged that the Chief Inspector of Hospitals, Professor Ted Baker, had written to NHS England outlining concerns about continuing poor care at Shrewsbury & Telford Hospital NHS Trust.

In his letter he said that special administration, seen previously at the scandal-hit Mid Staffordshire NHS Trust, which was eventually dissolved, could be an option if the situation does not improve.

The CQC and the NHS have been meeting to discuss the plans to improve the hospitals, but no decision has yet been taken.

Royal Shrewsbury Hospital

Lindsay Meeks, Regional Director of the Royal College of Nursing in the West Midlands, said: “Poor care can never be condoned and the concerns presented by the CQC are extremely worrying.

“We understand from the CQC’s most recent inspection of the trust that it still has fundamental leadership, organisational and care quality weaknesses despite being in Special Measures and in receipt of support from NHS Improvement to address these persistent challenges.

“Patients deserve the best possible care and staff need supportive leadership and excellent working conditions in order to deliver good care, so it’s vital the causes of these problems are identified and tackled as a matter of urgency.

“As a trade union and professional body for nursing, we have been in contact with the trust to offer to work with them on improving leadership, developing nursing practice and fostering a positive and respectful workplace culture. We have been assured that our offer is welcome and we look forward to working with the trust towards a more positive future for staff and patients.”

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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.

Telford MP Lucy Allan, said the possibility of special administration had not come as a surprise but she remained shocked by the scale of the maternity review.

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Telford MP Lucy Allan

She also said the focus should be on improving services, rather than the Future Fit reorganisation.

She said: “I am disappointed but unsurprised that SaTH may be placed in ‘special administration’ for reasons of patient safety. I am grateful to the CQC for continuing to focus on the safety of my constituents.

"I am shocked by the scale of the maternity scandal and the impact poor care has had on the lives of women, their children and their families.

"The culture of denial and failure to listen to others has led to this situation. The management are aloof, detached and fully aware they are unaccountable to anyone.

"Now is not the time for this trust to be diverting its attention away from patient safety and focusing instead on forcing through a plan for the future of our healthcare, which even the trust itself does not support. The people of Telford deserve better and I will do everything in my power to secure it.”

The first NHS trust to enter administration

The trust at the centre of the Stafford Hospital scandal became the first foundation trust to go into administration in 2013.

Health regulator Monitor said the administrators were appointed after it was concluded Mid Staffordshire NHS Foundation Trust, which also ran Cannock Chase hospital, was “neither clinically nor financially sustainable in its current form”.

The trust was at the centre of a public inquiry into the Stafford hospital scandal. Hundreds of patients may have died needlessly after they were routinely neglected. An investigation was launched into the Mid Staffordshire NHS Foundation Trust by regulators after records showed there were up to 1,200 more deaths than expected between 2005 and 2009.

It led to the Government calling for a public inquiry, which was spearheaded by Sir Robert Francis. His report, published in 2010, confirmed the fears of many patients and relatives revealing the full extent of substandard care. The Francis report highlighted the “appalling and unnecessary suffering of hundreds of people” between 2005 and 2009.

Three weeks after the report was published, Monitor said it was consulting with the health secretary and key organisations about the prospective appointment of special administrators.

It was formally dissolved in 2017 after three years as a shell organisation.

Then Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt gave the go-ahead for the move in 2014.

Services that were run by the trust were transferred to the management of University Hospitals of North Midlands NHS Trust and The Royal Wolverhampton NHS Trust.

Stafford Hospital has since been renamed County Hospital.

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