Wednesday, 17 December 2014

Hospitals' inspector's damning report for NHS trust which closed Hammersmith A&E



St Mary's Hospital's A&E and outpatients were branded as inadequate

The trust which runs Charing Cross, St Mary's, Hammersmith and Queen Charlotte's and Chelsea Hospitals has been told it requires improvement, with outpatients and St Mary's A&E branded inadequate.

An NHS trust which closed one of west London’s major A&Es is in the firing line again after its four hospitals received a damning report by the chief hospitals inspector.
The independent Care Quality Commission (CQC) report released today (December 16) rated Imperial College Healthcare NHS Trust as requiring improvement overall - the second worst rating.
The trust runs Charing Cross Hospital in Hammersmith, Queen Charlotte’s and Chelsea, and Hammersmith both in White City and St Mary’s in Paddington.
Staff treated patients with dignity and respect, the report said, but St Mary’s Hospital’s A&E was issued a formal warning over its hygiene after the September inspection but was improved with a refurbishment after a month.
St Mary’s A&E is now a go-to service after nearby Hammersmith Hospital’s A&E was closed on September 10 , just days after the inspection.
Charing Cross’s A&E was rated as good and its stroke unit outstanding which has added fuel to the fire for Imperial’s opponents, who say the A&E is marked for closure, although Imperial cannot confirm this until Sir Bruce Keogh, NHS England’s medical director, publishes his report next year.
Meanwhile outpatients at St Mary’s, Charing Cross and Hammersmith Hospitals were all marked as inadequate.
The Save Our Hospitals campaign is calling for a moratorium on further reorganisation and for a rethink with a reconsultation based on ‘clear clinical evidence’.
Merril Hammer, chair, said: “The rating of St Mary’s A&E as inadequate bears out what we’ve been saying for some time yet the A&E at Charing Cross, marked for closure, is rated as good.
“We are left wondering why Imperial and the CCG should proceed with the largest organisation of the NHS before they have got outpatients treatment sorted.”
Administration at all the hospitals was a cause for concern, with backlogs of patients waiting for elective surgery, breaching national targets in some specialities and at Charing Cross lack of appointment’s organisation was causing delays.
Dr Tracey Batten, Imperial’s CEO, was praised for her work since starting earlier this year, but admitted the trust needs to ‘redouble its efforts’.
“I was particularly pleased to hear about our staff and their level of care but overall we were disappointed with the report’s findings but we did find it constructive. With the hygiene issue at St Mary’s A&E we took immediate action and when they returned a month later it had been turned around which shows we are keen to be the best.
“Outpatients in all hospitals are absolutely stretched and many of the administrative approaches need to be worked on. We’ve got our one-stop clinic and text messages for appointments and self check-in kiosks which we need to roll out to each of our sites.
“Charing Cross is business as usual until any decisions are made and if or when they are made it’s five years before anything changes.”
Hammersmith MP Andy Slaughter branded the report ‘depressing reading’ and said it shows services struggling to cope in the wake of cuts and closures.
He said: “Clearly Imperial has a lot to do establish a safe and effective clinical practice. Against this background it would be madness to press ahead with the closure of Charing Cross A&E and the demolition of the hospital there. West London cannot cope at present with the demands on its acute hospitals. The Government’s closure plans must be shelved immediately. It is shameful that local Conservatives’ in Hammersmith continue to support them.”
Hammersmith and Fulham Council leader Stephen Cowan has headed up a campaign to keep Charing Cross's A&E open. He said: “This is a damming report which backs our view that closing Charing Cross Hospital’s A&E will put lives at risk. We are determined to defend Charing Cross and our local NHS and this report demonstrates just why it’s vital we do that.”
Under the Shaping a Healthier Future programme, Imperial gave the green light in July to sell 55 per cent of Charing Cross and ‘move out’ A&E services and sell 45 per cent of St Mary’s.

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