CQC Warns Heatherwood and Wexham Park Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust that it has Failed to Protect the Safety and Welfare of Patients at Wexham Park Hospital

The Care Quality Commission has told Heatherwood and Wexham Park Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust that it must make urgent improvements to protect patients at Wexham Park Hospital in Slough.


CQC has issued six formal warning notices to the trust following an unannounced inspection at which it failed to meet eight of the nine national standards which were reviewed.

A team of inspectors and specialists, including a pharmacist, an expert-by-experience and CQC's National Professional Advisor on Midwifery, spent four days at the hospital in October. While there was improvement in some of the issues raised by the previous inspection, this inspection showed that action to secure the improvements had not been fully implemented across the hospital. A full report of this inspection has been published on the CQC website.

Among CQC's findings:

There were concerns over leadership and care delivery in Wards 7, 4 and the Acute Medical Unit (AMU). On these wards, inspectors saw a number of occasions where the quality of care given to patients was below standard.
Inspectors received a number of comments from patients about the quality of nursing care and poor communication. People's privacy and dignity was not always respected.
Inspectors identified poor standards of cleanliness and inadequate infection control in some areas of the hospital.
There was evidence of poor record keeping and an absence of care plans in some areas.
Staffing arrangements had not significantly improved since the last inspection. Despite on-going recruitment, almost all the wards inspected were regularly short staffed.
Staff did not always feel they could raise concerns or make suggestions. A number of staff expressed concerns about bullying and harassment from managers. In some cases, staff raised concerns with inspectors but were reluctant to be named for fear of reprisals from their managers.

Adrian Hughes, Regional Director of CQC in the South, said:

"We have monitored Wexham Park Hospital closely over a number of months and we carried out a follow up to our inspection in May 2013. We took the time to get a feel for the service speaking to staff, patients and relatives for their views to ensure that our judgements are reflected accurately.

"We found there was a clear emphasis on responding to national and local clinical targets but less emphasis on ensuring that overall patient experiences were positive. Most worrying perhaps is that staff did not always feel they could raise concerns or make suggestions, and that some were reluctant to be identified as having raised concerns for fear of reprisals. It is vital that everyone working in the NHS feels safe to speak up - and that trusts create an environment where staff feel safe to do so.

"Our role is to check that hospital services are safe, effective, caring, responsive and well-led. The trust has told us that it will take action to make the improvements required. We will monitor this closely, and we will be returning to inspect the trust on 11 February. On the 12 February we will be holding a public listening event at Wexham Park Golf Club at 6:30pm. CQC would like to invite any members of the public who wish to make their views about the trust known to come and speak to us."

CQC has published a full report here.



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