Sunderland Royal Hospital ‘at risk of providing poor care’

Sunderland Royal Hospital Accident and Emergency Department (A&E)
Sunderland Royal Hospital Accident and Emergency Department (A&E)
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SUNDERLAND Royal Hospital has been identified as at risk of providing poor care, a regulator has said.

Analysis by the Care Quality Commission (CQC) found 44 trusts with the most serious level of concern, including higher than expected death rates across their hospitals.

Some trusts were flagged for incidents resulting in harm to patients while others scored low on staff or patient satisfaction.

Several came to attention due to whistleblowing staff while others had a higher than expected death rate among patients who should be low risk.

The exercise has been carried out as part of the regulator’s new hospital inspection regime, which will see inspectors go into every trust by 2015. All 161 trusts were divided into six bands, with band one being the highest risk and band six the lowest.

The trusts in band one include the 11 trusts already placed in special measures after a review of high mortality rates. City Hospitals Sunderland NHS Foundation Trust was placed in band four, at the lower end of the scale for risk of offering poor services to patients. County Durham and Darlington NHS Foundation Trust was put in the same band.

The CQC’s chief inspector of hospitals, Professor Sir Mike Richards, said: “As a doctor, I liken intelligent monitoring to a screening test; our inspection combined with intelligent monitoring provides the diagnosis, following which we make a judgment, which will in turn lead to action.

“Our intelligent monitoring helps to give us a good picture of risk within trusts, showing us where we need to focus our inspections.

“We aim to publish the results at regular intervals. They will provide the basis for constant contact with NHS hospitals and other NHS organisations, and may lead to inspections in response to particular issues.”

The CQC has said the latest information is not a final judgment, but will be used as a valuable tool to prioritise which trusts to inspect earlier on.

Not all 150 indicators are applicable to every trust.

A spokesman for City Hospitals Sunderland NHS Foundation Trust said: “We have a high reputation for the quality of our care, and the dedication and professionalism of our staff teams.

“We have developed over many years as a North East centre of excellence within the whole NHS, and were the first foundation trust in the region.

“We work closely with other local agencies, patients and relatives to ensure that our standards are maintained and the best quality of care is available to local people - it is a never-ending process in which the views of patients and their relatives are central to our continued improvement.”