The trust, which provides acute care at several hospitals in East Kent, has failed to meet the four-hour national waiting time target in A&E every quarter since last August, when it was put into special measures.
East Kent is also losing money and has agreed with Monitor to tackle its worsening financial position.
Historically, the trust has mostly been able to keep its finances in a strong surplus. However, last financial year it lost near to £8 million and it is now predicting that this position will worsen this financial year.
Paul Streat, Regional Director at Monitor, said:
Since last year the trust has refreshed its leadership team and has made progress engaging the staff in the day to day running of the trust. It’s encouraging to see the trust tackling the key issue underpinning many of the problems which led to it being put into special measures.
The trust now needs to harness this improved staff culture to focus efforts on speeding up how quickly patients are seen in A&E. We also need the new management to make sure the trust returns to a good financial position for its patients.
Sue Lewis, Monitor’s Improvement Director at the trust, said:
Since the Care Quality Commission inspection last year, I have been impressed with the energy and enthusiasm staff have shown in making improvements for patients. This includes tackling bullying and improving staff engagement.
It is reassuring to know that staff now feel more able to raise concerns about bullying which are taken seriously and dealt with. I have seen examples of this throughout the trust including in maternity and administration. Staff across the organisation are really committed to improvement.
Since the trust was put into special measures by Monitor, it has replaced the majority of its leadership team and has taken steps to improve staff culture. A new financial director has also been appointed by the trust to address these challenges and ensure that the trust strengthens its control over costs.
Monitor will continue to work closely with the trust and support its efforts to improve, including in those areas which led to it being put into special measures such as surgery and young people’s services.