East Kent Hospital Trust Placed In Special Measures

East Kent Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust Has Been Placed In Special Measures

02.09.2014

Dave Grimshaw, Press Officer | 0114 274 4397
East Kent Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust - one of the largest medical trusts in England - has been placed into special measures, due to significant concerns surrounding the safety of patients and the quality of leadership at its hospitals.

Facilities operated by the trust include the Buckland in Dover, the Queen Elizabeth the Queen Mother in Margate, William Harvey Hospital in Ashford, the Royal Victoria in Folkestone and the Kent and Canterbury in Canterbury, serving approximately 75,000 people overall.

Health regulator Monitor carried out an investigation into standards at the trust and discovered 'a culture of bullying' relating to staff, as well as significant shortages in the number of doctors and nurses working shifts in A&E, children's departments and at night.

Furthermore, Monitor found that patient safety risks were not always identified and dealt with, meaning their health could be seriously compromised, while both buildings and medical equipment were found to be in a poor condition.

In light of this, Monitor has announced it will be appointing an improvement director at the trust to make sure significant progress is made with regard to care standards in the near future.

Paul Streat, regional director at Monitor, stated the trust needs to "urgently" improve its safety standards to ensure patients are cared for in the best possible way, while also introducing new measures to provide improved support for frontline medical staff.

He added senior leaders need to make sure they are listening to concerns from staff, working more closely with them to help them to resolve any issues.

Responding to the situation, chief executive of the trust Stuart Bain commented: "We want to work with our regulator Monitor, our staff and our health partners to make improvements to the services we provide to the people of east Kent.

"In addition, we identified the need to improve our appointment system some time ago and have just completed a public consultation on our outpatient services that will allow us to make improvements to the services we offer patients."

Expert Opinion
The issues highlighted recently at the East Kent Hospitals University NHS Trust by the Care Quality Commission are extremely worrying and the decision taken by Monitor to place the Trust into special measures is a positive one, as it will ensure failings are dealt with and patient health and safety become a top priority.

“The fact that many patient safety risks were not being identified and dealt with in the past needs to change urgently and it is vital steps are taken to improve standards throughout the medical services offered by the Trust’s hospitals. All too often we have seen the problems patients have suffered all around the country as a result of poor care standards and procedures not being followed correctly.

"Medical negligence can have devastating and life-changing consequences. Hopefully, East Kent Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust will work closely with Monitor to resolve the issues highlighted in recent months as soon as possible.”
Mandy Luckman, Partner