It is clear from this review from the Care Quality Commission (CQC) that Mid Staffordshire NHS Foundation Trust has made significant progress in the period since Monitor’s original intervention in March 2009.
It is particularly encouraging that there has been acceleration of this progress in the 6 months since the CQC’s last review.
The CQC has now lifted 5 of the 6 conditions placed on Mid Staffordshire’s registration, which is testimony to the hard work of the new management team and the staff at the trust, who are delivering real improvements in patient care, patient experience and cultural change.
Monitor has worked closely with the trust to put in place new and experienced leadership to deliver these improvements. This leadership team has then overseen the design and delivery of a transformation programme with clear priorities and rapid actions to secure patient safety.
The trust has made good progress towards recruitment of a permanent board. The new leadership has made improvements in patient care, ensuring better infection control, increased numbers of nurses and delivery of a much improved mortality ratio, as recognised in the CQC’s report.
The report also notes that “the culture at the trust has changed over the last 12 months”. Cultural change is difficult to effect - the fact that the majority of patients surveyed since January 2010 were positive about their care is very encouraging.
However, the CQC has also highlighted areas where the trust still needs to make improvements, and it is key that the trust addresses these rapidly and effectively. The trust board, and Monitor as the regulator, must ensure that the progress that has been made is not only sustainable going forward but sustained across the organisation.
The trust’s financial position has deteriorated during the last year, and the trust’s board is currently working with its commissioners to develop a long-term strategic plan that will ensure the sustainable delivery of high-quality care for its local population. Over the coming months Monitor will work closely with the trust to assess that these plans address the financial position while continuing to ensure patient safety.
David Bennett, interim Chief Executive of Monitor, said:
Under the new leadership put in place by Monitor, this trust has made real progress in delivering improved patient care. This report also demonstrates that the board’s efforts to create a more open culture have had a positive impact on public confidence and patient experience. This is key - we have always been clear that improved services are not enough in themselves - the public need to believe that there has been genuine and lasting change in their hospital.
But there is still work for the trust to do - and the board must address the areas that need strengthening whilst not losing momentum on the progress already achieved. Driving improvement at this trust is a long-term process, not a quick fix, and one on which Monitor will continue to work closely with both the trust and the CQC.