A hospital trust at the centre of Britain’s largest ever maternity scandal has widespread failings across departments and is getting worse, the care regulator has warned as it calls for NHS bosses to take urgent action.
Ted Baker, chief inspector of hospitals, urged NHS England to intervene over the “worsening picture” at Shrewsbury and Telford Hospital Trust, which is already facing a criminal investigation.
There are as many as 1,500 cases being examined after mothers and babies died and were left with serious disabilities due to poor care going back decades in the trust’s maternity units.
Now, in a leaked letter seen by The Independent, Prof Baker has warned national health chiefs that issues are still present today across wards at the trust – with inspectors uncovering poor care in recent visits that led to “continued and unnecessary harm” for patients.
He raised the prospect that the Care Quality Commission (CQC) could recommend the trust be placed into special administration for safety reasons, which has only been done once in the history of the NHS – at the former Mid Staffordshire NHS Trust, where a public inquiry found hundreds of patients suffered avoidable harm and neglect because of widespread systemic poor care.
In a rarely seen intervention, Prof Baker’s letter to NHS England’s chief operating officer, Amanda Pritchard, warned there were “ongoing and escalating concerns regarding patient safety” and that poor care was becoming “normalised” at the trust, which serves half a million people with its two hospitals – the Royal Shrewsbury and Telford’s Princess Royal.
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Source: The Independent, 16 July 2020