More Concerns About St Barts Health NHS Trust

St Barts Health NHS Trust, one of the country’s largest Trusts was put into ‘Special Measures’ back in March. The Trust includes well known London Hospitals: St Bartholomew’s Hospital in the City, The Royal London Hospital in Whitechapel, The London Chest Hospital in Bethnal Green, Newham University Hospital in Plaistow, Mile End Hospital and Whipps Cross University Hospital in Leytonstone. The Trust is responsible for an area covering 2.5 million people. Concerns (Raised by the Care Quality Commission) initially centred on Whipps Cross Hospital and problems with staff morale, insufficient staffing, a culture of bullying and a failure to meet targets on waiting times. The CQC suggested leadership improvements and prioritisation of patient safety. The special measures regime is designed to offer the support trusts need to improve. Now fresh concerns have been raised at the Royal London Hospital and Newham University Hospital. The CQC cites patient safety concerns and a culture which discouraged staff from speaking up about problems and issues. The CQC also expressed concerns about significant understaffing. Prof Sir Mike Richards, the chief inspector of hospitals, said: “It is clear that the leadership issues we found at Whipps Cross were replicated at the other hospitals. There is still a lack of engagement with the staff, low morale, high levels of stress, even confusion among the workforce about who is in charge. Across the trust there is too little attention paid to safety, with failures in incident reporting and auditing, and in dealing with or learning from complaints.” Steve Ryan, the chief medical officer at Barts Health NHS Trust, said: “We are very sorry for the failings identified by the CQC in some of our services at Newham and the Royal London hospitals. We are already making rapid and dramatic improvements in key areas.” Patrick Oliver, Clinical Negligence specialist at Setfords Solicitors, comments: “While the findings of the CQC are disturbing, I am encouraged by Mr Ryan’s comments and I hope that patient safety is genuinely prioritised. I also hope that the culture of transparency called for in the Francis report is extended to all aspects of the NHS which would have prevented these issues from becoming so serious.” If you have concerns about your medical treatment, get in touch with Patrick now on 01635 887 665 or email poliver@setfords.co.uk