King George Hospital trust still in special measures after new CQC inspection report but on road to recovery

Hospital trust boss Matthew Hopkins.

Hospital trust boss Matthew Hopkins. - Credit: Archant

The trust that runs King George Hospital remains in special measures as A&E waiting times are below targets and outpatient services are struggling to meet demand.

Despite this, inspectors from the Care Quality Commission (CQC) reported “significant progress” had been made since December 2013’s report placed Barking, Havering Redbridge University Hospitals Trust (BHRUT) into special measures.

The report published today (Thursday) found a number of problems persist in A&E departments over waiting times and staffing levels, with inspectors noting uncertainty surrounding the future of the Goodmayes hospital’s service – which has been earmarked for downgrading since 2011 – had led to a lack of strategy and leadership.

The report also revealed the trust had received a warning letter from London Ambulance Service regarding delayed handover times at King George.

Chief executive of BHRUT Matthew Hopkins said: “The report highlights the challenges of operating two A&E departments and being able to staff both consistently well. One of the things we will be thinking about is how to address the workforce changes going forward.”

The trust highlighted improved waiting times in the months since March’s inspection.

In June, 94.5 per cent of patients were seen within four hours across Queen’s and King George, just missing the 95pc target – but in December levels fell to 76.8pc.

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Outpatient services were judged to be inadequate, with inspectors noting 15pc of appointments were cancelled, health records were not always available and some medication stored there was out-of-date.

Inspectors also raised concerns that a shortage of critical care beds was affecting between 100 and 200 patients across the trust each month, resulting in procedures being cancelled and patients facing long waits in A&E.

End of life services at King George and Queen’s Hospital, in Romford were the one area found to be good, while outstanding practise was seen in several services including stroke, dementia and oral chemotherapy.

Throughout the extensive report inspectors noted the “compassion and kindness” of staff and their desire to deliver high quality care to patients.

Mr Hopkins said: “We are making great strides in improving care for our patients and have set strong foundations to continue our journey to become outstanding. Our staff and patients have worked incredibly hard to get us this far and we will now focus our efforts on continuing our patient journey.”

Inspectors will return to the hospital in the coming months.