Sherwood Forest on slow road to recovery

Kings Mill Hospital.
Kings Mill Hospital.

The trust that runs King’s Mill Hospital is staying in special measures for at least a further six months while it continues to make much-needed improvements.

The Care Quality Commission’s latest inspection of Sherwood Forest Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust has found that it overall ‘requires improvement’ though progress was said to have been made since it was placed in special measures last year.

King’s Mill Hospital itself also requires improvement, but three key service areas were rated as good following the CQC inspection in April.

Trust chief executive Paul O’Connor said that while they are disappointed to still be in special measures, he was pleased that Professor Sir Mike Richards, the chief inspector of hospitals, had recognised the improvements already made.

“What he is looking for is a confidence that all the improvements that have been made can be sustained,” Mr O’Connor said.

“The worst thing that can happen is for a trust to come out of special measures and then slip back in again.”

King’s Mill’s critical care, maternity service and children’s and young people’s services were all rated as good by CQC inspectors, but all other services - including accident and emergency, medical care, surgery, end of life care and outpatients - were found to require improvement.

Poor record keeping in relation to patient care was witnessed in some areas, while staffing is still below expected levels in some areas.

Mr O’Connor said: “There are lots of areas of excellent practice that have been identified by the CQC and we have some whole services where we are rated good across every rating.

“What we have to try and do now is take into other services the pockets of good and excellent care and create more consistency.

“It’s that lack of consistency that lets us down in certain areas at the moment.”

The CQC noted that the trust’s mortality rates have now fallen to an acceptable level but it only achieved a good rating in one area - with regard to being caring.

The safety of services were inadequate in medical care.

“The aim is to further improve our safety and quality until we are as high as we can possibly be, but we will only do that by driving up that consistency,” Mr O’Connor added.