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Top hospital downgraded amid safety fears and whistleblowing inquiry

The hospital at the centre of a whistleblowing inquiry has been downgraded by the care watchdog and issued with a warning notice amid concerns over leadership and patient safety.

West Suffolk Foundation Trust has been rated requires improvement by the Care Quality Commission (CQC) in a damning report having previously been rated outstanding since 2017.

The trust, whose Chief Executive Stephen Dunn received a CBE for services to patient safety in 2018, has faced criticism after bosses threatened senior doctors with a fingerprint and handwriting analysis to try and identify a whistleblower.

In a new report published today, the CQC inspectors said they had significant concerns about the safety of mothers and babies in the trust’s maternity unit and the criticised the culture of the trust leadership referencing what they called “threatening” actions.

In the West Suffolk hospital maternity unit the CQC found staff had not completed key safety training, did not protect women from domestic abuse, and staff did not always report safety incidents. They also found maternity staff were not taking observations and the unit lacked enough staff with the right qualifications to keep women safe.

The trust was issued with a warning notice by the trust demanding it make improvements before the end of this month.

On the trust leadership the CQC report said: “The style of executive leadership did not represent or demonstrate an open and empowering culture. There was an evident disconnect between the executive team and several consultant specialities."

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Source: The Independent, 30 January 2020


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