Shrewsbury and Telford Hospital NHS Trust placed into special measures

The trust which runs the Princess Royal Hospital in Telford and the Royal Shrewsbury Hospital has been placed into special measures.

NHS Improvement (NHSI) today announced that The Shrewsbury and Telford Hospital NHS Trust (SaTH) would be placed into ‘special measures’, which will provide increased support and oversight from NHSI to support the Trust.

It is the first time that NHS Improvement has put a trust into special measures without a recommendation from the Care Quality Commission (CQC).

NHS Improvement said that while formal recommendation is awaited, it has made a decision based on the information it had gathered and having taken advice from CQC.

The CQC carried out inspections of the trust’s services in August and September 2018. The CQC’s reports are expected imminently but in response to its findings, the CQC has already taken enforcement action to ensure patients get safe, high quality and compassionate care.

The decision comes as the trust continues to address several challenges where patient care could be at risk. These challenges include governance, workforce, urgent and maternity care and whistleblowing issues.

It now means that the trust will receive enhanced support, including additional funding, additional capacity to support the planned improvement programme, external buddying arrangements and strengthened oversight arrangements.

That’s on top of support NHS Improvement has provided so far, including the appointment of an improvement director, support on a long-term workforce strategy to address the trust’s vacancies, quality visits, a board development session on ‘Freedom to Speak Up’, and the introduction of a safety oversight and assurance group.

Ian Dalton, Chief Executive of NHS Improvement said:

“While Shrewsbury and Telford Hospital NHS Trust has been working through its many challenges, it is important that the trust is able to deliver the high-quality care that patients deserve. The time is right to ramp up our help by placing the trust in special measures.

“We know that the trust welcomes this decision and shares our commitment to turn around its performance and quality concerns for the benefit of patients and the wider community.”

Decision Welcomed

The Shrewsbury and Telford Hospital NHS Trust has welcomed the intervention and say, they are trying to address historic issues in the way its services are delivered.

Simon Wright, Chief Executive, said:

“The Trust is trying to fix a number of legacy problems in the way its services are delivered. These issues have been many years in the making. This is a huge challenge and putting things right is not an easy matter.

“Over the last few weeks we have been discussing with NHS Improvement what extra support could be made available if the trust was placed in special measures. We absolutely welcome that extra support that comes with special measures and NHS Improvement’s support for the trust’s leadership to make the necessary improvements.

“We are confident that working with partners in the NHS and the wider community this Trust can deliver the great health services that the people of Shropshire, Telford & Wrekin and Mid Wales deserve.

“I understand that the announcement will, understandably, cause anxiety amongst our patients and staff. I am not denying that SaTH is facing challenges. The Board has been shining a spotlight on them for many months and, in some cases, years. However, we know and I know that our staff provide great care day in, day out.”

Simon added: “There is evidence of a really good hospital trust, filled with really talented and dedicated people, everywhere I look. We know there is a lot more work to do and there is a long and, no doubt at times, challenging time ahead, but we are confident that we will deliver.”

Telford MP Lucy Allan said:

“This is a much needed step forward. I have been pushing for Special Measures, together with Mark Pritchard MP and the Conservative Group on Telford & Wrekin Council, since September, after it became clear that the management could not cope with the serious challenges they faced and which were compromising the safety of residents. I am pleased that this decision has now been made so the Trust can move forward with the right help and support.”

What does being put in Special Measures mean?

Special measures apply when NHS trusts and foundation trusts (‘trusts’) have serious problems and where there are concerns that the existing leadership cannot make the necessary improvements without support. Trusts may be placed in special measures as a result of serious failures in quality of care and/or serious financial problems.

Special measures consist of a set of interventions designed to remedy the problems at a trust within a reasonable timeframe.