Whipps Cross University Hospital has been rated ‘inadequate’ by care quality inspectors for the second time in a row.
The latest report by the Care Quality Commission (CQC) found the Leytonstone hospital had improved in several key areas, particularly in maternity care and paediatrics, but was still failing overall – with surgery and outpatient care listed as major areas of concern.
A previous damning report published in March 2015 had resulted in the hospital being placed in ‘special measures’ and the departure of several key senior managers. It was hoped the changes would lead to rapid improvements being made, but the new report has been described as “disappointing” with progress said to be “too slow”.
In summarising his findings the chief inspector of hospitals, Professor Sir Mike Richards, said infection prevention and control procedures at Whipps Cross “were not strictly adhered to” and that he found “limited evidence of learning from incidents and complaints”.
“Poor culture” and “evidence of bullying and inequality” were found, he said, and “examples of a lack of compassion towards patients nearing the end of their lives”.
In making a long list of recommendations, the professor said: “The trust must ensure there are sufficient numbers of qualified, skilled and experienced staff employed and deployed to meet the needs of patients.
“This should include ensuring staff have the right skills to recognise and manage the deteriorating patient.”
The Accident and Emergency (A&E) department at Whipps Cross, where the government target is to treat and discharge at least 95 percent of patients within four hours, is instead only achieving 85 percent.
Reacting to the CQC report, Waltham Forest Council’s cabinet member for health and wellbeing, Councillor Ahsan Khan, said: “We are of course disappointed by the CQC’s findings.
“Our expectation after the last inspection was that improvements would be delivered rapidly to better meet the standards of care our residents and patients deserve. While there has been improvement in several areas, it’s clear that progress has been too slow.”
Councillor Khan used the report to support the council’s assertion that the hospital needs to be rebuilt. He added: “We are continuing to lobby the government for Whipps to be redeveloped.”
A formal outline of the redevelopment proposal is due to be published in early 2017.
Barts Health NHS Trust, which runs Whipps Cross, is the most indebted NHS trust in the country with a deficit in the last financial year of £134.9million. Commenting on the latest inadequate inspection report for Whipps Cross, Barts chief executive Alwen Williams said: “The quality of care for patients at our hospitals is getting better all the time. I’m very grateful for the dedication and passion our staff show every day and night.
“We still have much to do and we must tackle all the areas where we are still letting our patients down, as well as taking inspiration from where we are doing well. I am confident that Barts Health is now on the right track and with the support of our partners and our committed workforce we will continue to improve.”
Read more about the Care Quality Commission’s verdict on Whipps Cross University Hospital: