The Care Quality Commission (CQC) has published its inspection report on St George’s University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust. The trust’s overall rating is Inadequate and the CQC recommends that the trust is put into special measures.
The trust has been rated as Inadequate for being safe and well-led, and Requires Improvement for being effective and responsive. The trust was given a rating of Good for being caring. The report does also highlight several areas of outstanding practice - outcomes for renal patients in relation to survival rates and transplants were excellent and other areas of outstanding practice included: the effectiveness of maternity care and the outcomes achieved by specialist medical and surgical services.
As the lead commissioner for St George’s, NHS Wandsworth CCG have been aware of many of the issues highlighted in the report for some time and have been working hard with the trust to address them.
Following its inspection in June 2016, the CQC issued a warning notice in relation to a number of areas including safety of some of the hospital buildings, fire safety and children’s safeguarding.
The trust has made improvements in a number of these and other important areas, for example by relocating some outpatient services and upgrading two of its operating theatres. The trust has also increased safeguarding training for staff and invested in its IT systems.
However, the pressure at St George’s remains high, particularly as we head towards winter. Wandsworth CCG will continue to both challenge and support the trust to deliver its recovery plans whilst monitoring and seeking assurance through mechanisms like the clinical quality review group, chaired by Dr Tom Coffey, and weekly meetings to review system resilience. The trust is fortunate that its staff are caring and well-motivated. Staff need the right systems and facilities in place to be able to deliver that care.
RTT reporting remains suspended at the trust and this continues to be a key issue to be resolved. A clinical harm review panel has been established to ensure that no patient comes to any harm as a result of these delays. The panel is chaired independently by Dr Nicola Payne (Associate Medical Director, NHS England).