THE troubled health trust which runs the Alexandra Hospital in Redditch is to implement a series of Enforcement Undertakings agreed with NHS Improvement over its failure to provide safe services.
In a damning report Worcestershire Acute Hospitals NHS Trust is held up for failing in its duty to operate efficiently, economically and effectively, for failing to comply with healthcare standards and failing to ensure its services are safe and of sufficient quality.
NHS Improvement (NHSI) says the trust, which runs Worcestershire Royal Hospital and Kidderminster Treatment Centre as well as the Alex, has also failed to provide effective financial decision making, management and control.
Neal Stote of the Save the Alex campaign said: “This sets the seal on the abject failure of the future of Acute Hospitals in Worcestershire programme.
“A lot of money has been wasted on this experiment and a lot of patients have suffered as a result.
“These are worrying times and I hope when NHSI come in they will speak to the people and patients from our towns before they do anything.”
However he warned that the rigorous demands NHSI will make on the trust could lead to a loss of services.
“These people will come in and they are a crack team and their job will be to make services safe.
“Due to the government failing to invest in more doctors and nurses if NHSI does not feel there are enough staff for a service to be safe then it could be removed.
“This goes back to why we should have linked up with Birmingham, because they have the staff, the expertise and the rotas to fully cover services.”
The trust has been languishing in Special Measures after a series of inspections by the Care Quality Commission and is currently rated ‘Inadequate’.
The NHSI report lays bare the failings of the trust:
On quality – Worcestershire Royal rated inadequate in Urgent and Emergency Care, Surgery, and Outpatients overall.
The Alex rated inadequate for safe, responsive and well led domains overall and inadequate for Surgery and Outpatients overall.
On operational performance – The trust has not achieved the A&E four hour waiting time since September 2014.
On finance – It’s control deficit was £41.5million in 2018/19 but the expected deficit is now £72.5m. It has also overspent on its agency staff budget.
NHSI has now imposed an agreed plan on the trust for it to take ‘all reasonable steps’ to recover its position.
This includes the undertaking that when next inspected by the CQC – on a agreed date – it will no longer be found to be ‘Inadequate’.
A trust spokesperson said: “Given the widely reported operational and financial challenges we face, NHS Improvement have asked us for, and been given, assurances about the actions we are taking to deliver further improvements over the coming year.”