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University Hospitals of North Midlands NHS Trust

NHS trust that took over Stafford Hospital ‘requires improvement’

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The Care Quality Commission has rated University Hospitals of North Midlands Trust ‘requires improvement’, LGC’s sister title Health Service Journal reports.

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The trust was created in November when University Hospital of North Staffordshire Trust was integrated with Stafford Hospital following the dissolution of Mid Staffordshire Foundation Trust. The site was renamed County Hospital.

Stafford Hospital

The trust took over Stafford Hospital in November last year

While inspectors rated the trust “good” for whether services were caring, capacity levels across departments and the patient flow through emergency departments were cited as areas of concern.

The CQC rated the trust “requires improvement” on whether its services were safe, effective, responsive and well led.

Children and young people’s services at the trust’s Royal Stoke University Hospital were rated “outstanding” in relation to whether they were caring.

Chief inspector of hospitals Sir Mike Richards explained that his team found that patients were frequently experiencing “unacceptable” waits when they inspected to trust in April.

He added that there were not enough beds for critical care patients and high numbers of patients were cared for in the recovery unit. The trust also lacked an end of life care strategy.

Inspectors noted that the trust was in the middle of a significant programme of change to relocate services between the two sites, a CQC spokeswoman said.

Sir Mike said: “Our inspectors found a number of improvements were needed at UHNM.

“We recognise that the leadership of the new trust has had the significant task of bringing together two organisations at a challenging time.

“We have seen that progress has been made and we found several areas of outstanding practice but there is still more to be achieved to improve services so that they meet the standards people have a right to expect.

“The trust leadership knows what it needs to do to bring about improvement and our inspectors will return at a later date to check on what progress has been made.”  

Trust chief executive Mark Hackett said: “I very much welcome the CQC report and we are addressing the various areas for improvement that [they have] identified.

“Less than a year ago there were serious concerns about the sustainability, and therefore the safety, of services at County Hospital but the CQC has now given the hospital 23 ‘good’ ratings and just one ‘inadequate’.” 

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