Health

NHS trust put into special measures

Whipps Cross University Hospital Image copyright PA

England's biggest NHS hospital trust, Barts Health NHS Trust, has been put into special measures after a damning report by the health service regulator.

The Care Quality Commission found a culture of bullying and low morale among staff at Whipps Cross Hospital, part of Barts Health NHS Trust, which runs six hospitals across east London.

And it raised issues in patient safety.

The Trust said it was committed to ensuring the safety and welfare of "every one of its patients".

But the chief inspector of hospitals, Prof Sir Mike Richards, said the Trust must "get a grip on what is happening".

The CQC report on Whipps Cross University Hospital in Leytonstone raised a number of serious concerns including:

  • Insufficient staffing levels to provide safe care, high use of agency staff and low staff morale
  • A persisting culture of bullying and harassment
  • Bed occupancy that is too high
  • A failure to meet national waiting time targets

Special measures

The special measures regime is designed to offer the support trusts need to improve.

One of the first steps at Whipps Cross is strengthening the leadership team - the hospital will have a dedicated managing director and a director of nursing, as well as a medical director to oversee its day-to-day running.

Dr Tim Peachey, associate medical director at the NHS Trust Development Authority, will also work with the Trust to raise its standards.

Trust chief executive Peter Morris said: "We are very sorry for the failings identified by the CQC in some of our services at Whipps Cross and we know the Trust has a big challenge ahead.

"Much has been done but we recognise that more needs to be done. We will take all the necessary steps to raise quality standards at Whipps Cross."

With a turnover of £1.25bn and a workforce of 14,000, Barts Health NHS Trust is the largest NHS trust in the country.

Its hospitals include St Bartholomew's Hospital in the City, The Royal London Hospital in Whitechapel, The London Chest Hospital in Bethnal Green, Newham University Hospital in Plaistow, Mile End Hospital and Whipps Cross University Hospital in Leytonstone.

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