BRINGING Queen's Hospital out of special measures too soon would have risked the quality of improvements, according to Burton's MP.
Andrew Griffiths says that he was "not surprised" by the CQC's decision to keep Burton Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust in special measures for the time being but says that it can only be of benefit in the long run, adding that it is now up to chief executive Helen Ashley and chairman Chris Wood to oversee the final changes needed to bring the trust up to standard.
He told the Mail: "It's reassuring that the inspectors haven't rushed to get Queen's out of special measures. It gives them a chance to keep visiting and ensure that all necessary improvements are being made and that nothing is being swept under the rug, so to speak.
"It's essential that the hospital comes out of special measures at the right time, and the reality is that it will take as long as it has to. I have spent plenty of time making visits to Queen's Hospital and I am aware of the task at hand. The management team must now continue to work on the areas which require improvement to being the hospital up to the right standard."
Mrs Ashley says that of the 19 recommendations made by the CQC, 14 of which the trust "must take", eight have already been completed. In addition, a further five are already seen to be "a work in progress" that involve further staff training. The trust hopes to have completed all the actions from the Keogh Review by the autumn.
Staffing issues, which have remained a long-standing problem for Queen's Hospital, have since been addressed with the addition of nurses from overseas and the recent recruitment of graduates, which will again be undertaken in the new year.
Despite remaining in special measures, the report given by Sir Mike Richards did give particular praise to the maternity and family planning procedures within the trust, where it was reported that staff on the ward were supported by those above them to be innovative "in order to constantly improve the service". Sir Mike commented: "There were systems in place to ensure that women and their babies were treated in a safe, well equipped environment by suitable numbers of qualified staff.
"All the women we spoke with and their partners could not compliment the staff enough. They had felt well supported, well informed and well cared for."
The trust's chairman, Chris Wood also praised staff for putting in "extra effort" to provide "excellent patient care" while also expressing his disappointment that the trust was to stay in special measures for a further six months. He said: "The board and I do not feel that the CQC report fully reflects the hard work of our staff, their dedication to providing the best, safe, compassionate care for our patients and the culture of always improving and learning."
It is not all bad news - trust is praised in some areas
WHILE it was determined that the Burton Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust must remain in special measures for at least the next six months, the report delivered by Sir Mike Richards did raise a number of positive findings.
Particular praise was given to the maternity and family planning services provided, which were rated 'good' overall. However, there were also promising signs in other areas which were still deemed to require improvement.
In his report, Sir Mike drew attention to matters relating to surgery, particularly for patients requiring operations on either their knee or hip. He said: "The enhanced recovery programme for knee and hip surgery was in place which reduced the length of stay for patients. We saw that discharge planning commenced when the patient was admitted."
He also praised senior sisters on the ward for their leadership abilities and the enthusiasm of those on team. There was also recognition for the outpatient department, which was noted to be visibly clean and uncluttered. Most patients also had access to outpatient services within the national guidelines.
It was noted that staff had completed mandatory training and that there were also opportunities for them to access further training, with evidence of the middle management working well to improve links to between senior and lower grade staff. Sir Mike said: "All the staff we spoke with felt supported by their immediate manager."