Hospitals out special measures after improvements made

The entrance to Stoke Mandeville Hospital
The entrance to Stoke Mandeville Hospital

Bucks hospitals which were branded ‘inadequate’ are now out of special measures after a top inspector found that they had improved.

England’s Chief Inspector of Hospitals has recommended that Buckinghamshire Healthcare NHS Trust should be taken out of special measures with immediate effect.

The trust was out into special measures in July 2013 following the Keogh Review into hospitals with higher than average mortality rates.

But Professor Sir Mike Richards and his inspectors found that enough progress had been made to justify the recommendation to the NHS Trust Development Authority - although the trust will receive ongoing support to ensure that its performance continues to improve.

The trust’s three main hospitals at Amersham, High Wycombe and Stoke Mandeville were inspected by CQC in March under its new inspection regime. An inspection team which included doctors, nurses, midwives, hospital managers, trained members of the public, a variety of specialists, CQC inspectors and analysts spent three days at the trust in March. Inspectors also returned unannounced on two evenings.

Reports which are published today show the trust has made significant improvements in a number of areas. Overall the trust has been rated as Requires Improvement, as have each of the three hospitals. Although in each hospital “are staff caring?” Was rated good. The full reports are available below.

Sir Mike Richards said: “We recognise that Buckinghamshire Healthcare NHS Trust has worked hard to improve since being placed in special measures last year.

“Importantly the trust has made real progress to meet the requirements of the Keogh Review, at the same time developing a quality improvement strategy with three aims – to reduce mortality, reduce harm, and improve the patient experience.

“New services have been introduced and services reorganised to manage the flow of patients through the hospital and improve emergency care. We found that staff at all levels were positive about working for the trust. They told us that real differences had been made in a relatively short time with a sharpened focus now on quality and safety.

“But there is still much more to do. The trust itself has identified significant risks around staffing levels, discharge planning and managing patient flow, and these risks remain. The trust need to continue to manage demand, develop service strategies, and engage with all their partners to deliver sustainable and effective services.

“Special measures are designed to provide intensive support to struggling trusts and Buckinghamshire Healthcare Trust has clearly gained from this support. There is no doubt that the trust is heading in the right direction and will continue to benefit from the ongoing support from the Trust Development Authority as they come out of special measures.”