County councillors put King’s Mill under the microscope

County councillors say they feel ‘confident’ that Sherwood Forest Hospitals Trust can make the improvements it needs to after grilling trust bosses about its failings.
King's Mill HospitalKing's Mill Hospital
King's Mill Hospital

The new interim chief executive, the former acting chief executive and the medical director at the trust that runs King’s Mill Hospital spoke to Nottinghamshire County councillors at Monday’s health scrutiny committee meeting.

Committee chair Colleen Harwood, councillor for Mansfield East, said that members wanted to hear about the trust’s problems directly - as many did not know the full picture.

She said: “It was important that the members knew the extent of the report, why it is failing, why the CQC gave it the rating it did and what the hospital is going to do about it.”

Coun Colleen Harwood, of Nottinghamshire County CouncilCoun Colleen Harwood, of Nottinghamshire County Council
Coun Colleen Harwood, of Nottinghamshire County Council

The CQC’s head of hospital inspection in the East Midlands also attended the meeting to explain why the trust has been rated as inadequate and what improvements it needs to make.

Coun Harwood said: “There was a lot of disappointment and concern over whether it is funding issues, a cultural issue or just out and out failure.

“After long discussions members were reassured that there are ways that the hospital can change.”

The health scrutiny meeting will now be following the progress that Sherwood Forest Hospitals makes - receiving reports at future meetings following up on issues and even visiting King’s Mill to see the improvements in action.

Coun Harwood said that the committee will take the issues raised by the CQC and ensure that the improvement deadlines are met.

“We are looking at certain areas and will be ensuring that targets have been met and met on time,” she said.

“We will not be accepting any excuses and they have got to be made to the standard required.”

The CQC report highlighted several areas where the trust was failing, including treatment of sepsis, problems with openness, ineffective learning from incidents and leadership.

After hearing from the trust bosses, Coun Harwood said that the committee did feel that the right people are in place to bring about the much-needed changes.

“We have confidence that with the right support the will be able to do it,” she added.

“But the proof will be in the pudding and we will be checking up on them and making sure they are meeting the targets they are supposed to.”

The new interim chief executive at Sherwood Forest Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust attended the health scrutiny committee along with his predecessor, Karen Fisher, who is now the programme director for the trust’s Quality Improvement Plan.

Peter Herring, who started in the role last Thursday, said: “We welcome our regular discussions with the Health Scrutiny Committee at Nottinghamshire County Council.

“Going forward we expect to demonstrate the excellent care provided to our patients, share the work of our dedicated staff and highlight the progress that is being made in our hospitals around issues arising from the CQC report.”

Mr Herring is one of a number of senior executives who have been brought into the trust by Monitor to strengthen the current leadership team.

Peter Reading, an experienced former NHS chief executive is supporting and advising the Executive team, while Suzanne Banks has been appointed as Interim Director of Nursing. Fiona Wise has also been appointed to oversee improvements in the maternity unit.