THE ORGANISATION responsible for scrutinising the quality of care within the NHS has confirmed it will inspect the county’s hospitals this summer.
Worcestershire Acute Hospitals NHS Trust has been named as one of six Acute Trusts to be inspected by the Care Quality Commission in July.
A team of inspectors, clinicians and experts will tour the Trust’s sites in Redditch, Worcester and Kidderminster and assess whether the service overall is safe, effective, caring, responsive to people’s needs and well-led.
As well as making unannounced visits at certain times, inspectors will also speak to patients, staff and interview key members of the senior management team.
They will then rate the Trust as either outstanding, good, requires improvement or inadequate and in that instance can put them into special measures which could see a turnaround team brought in to improve standards.
The news follows the resignation of five A&E consultants, including the entire team at the Alexandra Hospital, and concerns raised by politicians and Save the Alex campaigners about the leadership of the organisation.
Concerns have also been raised about missed cancer, A&E and elective surgery waiting time targets as well as a spike in mortality rates.
But a spokeswoman for the CQC said the intended inspection date was not related to the resignation of the consultants.
“It’s part of our schedule,” she said.
The commission uses analysis of 150 types of data to rank organisations to decide when to inspect them. WAHT was initially ranked in band six when the monitoring reports were first released in October 2013 but last July they were put into band four and have remained there since. The report highlights elevated risks around mortality rates, whistleblowing alerts and a key stroke indicator. The Trust Development Authority has also declared there is a risk due to significant delivery issues.
The Trust is already reviewing all deaths in the county’s hospitals to understand why mortality rates are rising and say increased demand and delays discharging people are affecting performance around waiting time targets.
The monitoring reports themselves do not indicate unsafe care but are used to guide the inspection schedule. The CQC aims to inspect all acute hospital trusts by December this year.