News story

East Kent Hospitals put in special measures by Monitor

East Kent Hospitals University NHS Foundation Trust put into special measures because of serious failures in patient safety and leadership.

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A recent inspection by the Care Quality Commission (CQC) found a number of problems at East Kent Hospitals University NHS Foundation Trust including in A&E, surgery, and services for young people. Patient safety was affected by low staffing levels and cultural issues, and staff surveys cited cases of bullying.

The health sector regulator Monitor has accepted the recommendation of Sir Mike Richards, the Chief Inspector of Hospitals, and is using a package of regulatory measures to enforce it.

Under the special measures regime, an Improvement Director will be appointed to provide support to the trust and hold it to account for making progress. The trust will also publish monthly updates of the changes it is making to improve the services it offers to patients.

East Kent Hospitals has agreed to put in place a plan to fix its problems as speedily as possible, and to carry out reviews of its leadership and the way it measures patient waiting times.

Monitor is also imposing an additional licence condition on the trust so that if it fails to make the changes needed, further action could be taken including replacing members of the trust’s leadership team if necessary.

Paul Streat, Regional Director at Monitor, said:

The trust needs to urgently improve the safety of care for patients, and strengthen its management to better support frontline staff. By putting the trust into special measures we can ensure they turn things around quickly.

Senior leaders need to listen to and work with all staff to understand and tackle problems on their wards. We will help the trust to do this, and to make lasting improvements to the services that people in East Kent rely on.

Published 2 September 2014