New alliance between Shropshire and Birmingham hospitals welcomed
The boss of Shropshire's two main hospitals has welcomed a new alliance with a major NHS trust in a bid to improve struggling services in the county.
NHS bosses have announced that University Hospitals Birmingham NHS Foundation Trust (UHB) will provide targeted support to The Shrewsbury and Telford Hospital NHS Trust (SaTH) from September 1.
It comes after Care Quality Commission's chief inspector of hospitals Ted Baker wrote to NHS chief operating officer Amanda Pritchard last month to outline a scathing list of concerns about the trust, which runs Royal Shrewsbury Hospital and Princess Royal Hospital in Telford.
He said that considering making a recommendation for ‘trust special administration’ could not be ruled out if other interventions cannot be agreed.
That measure was previously used on the scandal-hit Mid Staffordshire NHS Foundation Trust, where an inquiry found hundreds of patients had suffered poor care, and led to the trust being dissolved
Louise Barnett, who joined SaTH as its chief executive in February, has welcomed the creation of the improvement alliance with UHB.
"SaTH cannot accomplish the necessary transformation alone and the provision of this extra expertise will be a really positive step forward on our improvement journey," she said.
Dr David Rosser, chief executive of UHB, said the trust was also looking forward to coming on board.
He added: “We are looking forward to working with colleagues at SaTH in this new improvement alliance.
"I believe that this development should give confidence to the people served by SaTH that improvements in patient safety and quality of care will be delivered.”
As part of the move, SaTH's chair Ben Reid, who has been in post since 2018, will step down and be replaced by Dr Catriona McMahon, who has been a non-executive director and senior independent director at UHB since 2014.
Dr McMahon said: “I am delighted to be the new chair at SaTH and look forward to working with my board colleagues, Louise and her team, as well as everyone who works for SaTH to deliver improvements.
"In particular I believe patient safety and quality of care will be improved with this strategic improvement alliance.
"I am determined to work hard to provide the right strategic leadership to ensure the whole team can be successful.”
UHB has been commissioned by the NHS since 2013 to provide clinical, governance, managerial and leadership capacity and capability to support the wider health economy, particularly trusts in distress or special measures.
Last month, NHS Improvement announced a strengthened support package for SaTH in agreement with the trust’s chief executive.
SaTH is 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 now dealing with more than 1,800 cases, and has led to the police investigating to see if criminal action should be taken.
It will continue to cooperate fully with the review which is being led by Donna Ockenden.
NHS bosses say there will be no redundancies as a result of the improvement alliance.