The Care Quality Commission has used its enforcement powers to require the Oxford University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust to urgently improve its standards.
The CQC report published in June rated the Trust as “requires Improvement”. The decision follows the findings of an unannounced inspection at the John Radcliffe Hospital, which is part of the Trust, in November 2018.
Urgent action needed
Dr Nigel Acheson, deputy chief inspector at the CQC, said that the Commission “have placed urgent conditions on the Trust’s registration to ensure these improvements do take place.
We will remove those conditions when we are satisfied that the trust has made sufficient progress to provide the quality of services that its patients are entitled to expect.”
The inspection at the John Radcliffe criticised the privacy, health and safety of patients in operating theatres at the hospital. Inspectors were able to see directly into operating theatres where patients were undergoing surgery. Operating theatres, amongst other areas of the hospital, were also found to be in a generally poor state of repair, increasing the risk of infection for patients undergoing surgery. These factors led to the hospital being downgraded from its previous “Good” rating.
The CQC also concluded that the Trust’s leadership required improvement. It was noted that there was a lack of expertise at an executive level within the Trust and managers “did not always promote a positive culture that supported and valued staff.”
Despite the numerous failures identified by the CQC inspectors, the Trust received a rating of “Good” in respect of its effectiveness, care and responsiveness. They concluded that “staff cared for patients with compassion and kindness. Feedback from patients was consistently positive about the way staff treated them.”
Dr Bruno Holthof, Chief Executive of the Trust, acknowledged that the Trust was “only partway through a journey to improvement, but also said that he would “like to thank all staff whose compassion and kindness has quite rightly been recognized. He said that the Trust would “continue to address those areas identified by the CQC where we know we need to do better.”
Danger to patients
Elizabeth Wickson, solicitor with Medical Accident Group said: “The findings of the CQC reports on both the John Radcliffe Hospital, and on the Trust as a whole, are deeply concerning. In particular, the risk of infection as a result of the poor state of operating theatres poses a serious threat to the lives of patients who may already be critically ill.”
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