CQC says Walsall Healthcare NHS Trust should be placed in special measures

England’s chief inspector of hospitals points to shortage of children's nurses and poor staffing levels at Walsall trust

England's chief inspector of hospitals said today an NHS trust that had a shortage of qualified paediatric nurses in its emergency department should be placed in special measures.

A Care Quality Commission inspection of Walsall Healthcare NHS Trust had found services were 'inadequate'.

The CQC's report, which followed an inspection in September last year, said the trust needed to make urgent improvements. Inspectors registered concerns about staffing and excessive workloads in several areas. The emergency department triage process was ineffective, the inspectors said, and there was a shortage of qualified paediatric nurses in the department.

The report emphasised staff were ‘caring and compassionate’, stating that inspectors had seen many examples of good care across the trust from staff at all levels. However, it added that in the emergency department and maternity ‘excessive workload led to the standards of caring falling below that we would expect’.

CQC chief inspector of hospitals, Professor Sir Mike Richards, said: ‘We found a number of serious problems and I have made a recommendation to the Trust Development Authority (TDA) that the trust be placed into special measures.  

‘We made the TDA aware of our concerns following the inspection and it has started to work with the trust to make sure these are appropriately addressed and that progress is monitored.   

‘Following our inspection we issued the trust with a warning setting out that significant improvement was immediately required in a number of areas including maternity services and emergency care. However, we found in many areas staff were dedicated and committed to patient care despite the pressures of staff shortages.

‘The trust has responded to our inspection findings and warning with a detailed plan for remedial action and we will return to undertake further inspections, including unannounced visits, to check the necessary improvements have been made.’

Trust chief executive Richard Kirby said: ‘The rating of inadequate will have an effect on those associated with the trust, whether they are staff, patients, families, members, volunteers or partners. But I want to reassure people the report emphasises how hard our staff work and how they continually go the extra mile for their patients.

‘I am convinced their determination, creativity and commitment – with better support from management – will bring us out of special measures.’

Read the CQC inspection report here



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