The BBC reports that fresh concerns have been raised about Bart’s Health NHS Trust by the Care Quality Commission (CQC), which is responsible for hospitals including the Royal London and Newham University Hospital, despite the Trust being placed in special measures in March 2015.
Perhaps the biggest cause for concern is that the issues raised by the CQC about Royal London Hospital and Newham University Hospital appear to be similar to those raised previously about the Whipps Cross Hospital earlier this year in March.
The question that has to be asked is why it took several months for similar problems to be unearthed at other hospitals within the same Trust. Were senior members of Trust management not aware of these concerns in March 2015? Patients need to be reassured that these are the final findings, and that the Trust can now focus on improving.
When problems are raised about standards of care at a particular hospital, the process of checking other hospitals within the same Trust must be quicker. Any delay puts new and existing patients at risk until the full extent of the problems is discovered. Bart’s Health NHS Trust owes a duty to their 2.5 million patients to get the Trust back on track as soon as possible. Many patients will not have any choice but to ride out the storm with Bart’s Health NHS Trust and hope that proper care is provided when they need it.
Current information suggests an 18 week delay between referral to treatment, which can make a significant difference to patients’ health and recovery. 18 weeks is clearly unsatisfactory and needs to be reduced. Such a delay may lead to avoidable injuries or conditions, giving rise to medical negligence claims. Patient safety needs to be the Bart’s Health NHS Trust’s top priority. Deep seated problems such as those discovered may prevent this from being the case.