Mid-Staffordshire trust urged to get better faster
By Vivienne Russell
17 December 2009
The pace of improvement at Mid-Staffordshire NHS Foundation Trust needs to be stepped up, the healthcare watchdog has said.
Following the second of its three formal progress checks at the troubled trust, the Care Quality Commission noted that progress had been slow in recruiting permanent staff.
Andrea Gordon, regional director for CQC in the West Midlands said: ‘Permanent staffing levels remain a concern and this must improve.
Although there had been some change, there was still a shortfall in permanent nursing staff and the trust was still using bank and agency staff to supplement numbers.
‘We are aware that the trust is working to address these issues but there is still some way to go.’
The inspectorate also recommended that urgent action be taken to improve the timely discharge of patients, and urged the trust to do more to build public confidence by communicating better with the local community.
CQC inspectors made several unannounced visits to Mid-Staffordshire in September. They published their conclusions today.
There were also some positive findings. The watchdog concluded that the trust was now taking information about mortality rates seriously and was continuing to build on improvements seen in the last three-month review.
Trust chief executive Antony Sumara said: ‘We are not complacent; we know that there is more to do and that this needs to be delivered more quickly. Staff at our hospitals are as committed as I am, to making changes for the benefit of our patients.’
The trust became the focus of health inspectors’ attention following concerns about mortality rates in emergency care. An inquiry by the Healthcare Commission – one of the CQC’s predecessor bodies – was published in March 2009 and concluded that poor standards of care at the trust had led to patients dying needlessly.
A full review of the trust’s progress will be conducted in spring 2010, one year after the original investigation report was published.