Press release

Monitor to investigate A&E at Great Western Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust

Monitor is launching an investigation into the performance of the trust's emergency department.

The health sector regulator Monitor is launching an investigation into Great Western Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust to understand why the trust is struggling to manage the performance of its emergency department.

A Care Quality Commission (CQC) inspection report published today found that the trust required improvement overall, but in particular noted that improvements are needed in the trust’s emergency department and issued a warning notice for this area.

The trust, which provides acute and community healthcare services to around 480,000 people in Wiltshire and the surrounding areas, needs to modernise the design and layout of its emergency department and improve how it manages the flow of patients. These changes would mean patients can either leave more quickly once they are well or can move into the right department more quickly to get further treatment.

Great Western also needs to ensure adequate staffing levels and that staff are properly trained in A&E; including in how to manage and record patient data effectively. Monitor wants to find out why the trust is facing these problems and what its plans are for making the required improvements. Our investigation will also consider whether the planned changes will happen quickly enough.

Claudia Griffith, Regional Director at Monitor, said:

Patients in Swindon and Wiltshire expect effective and quality care when they visit A&E; key to that is having the right amount of staff with the right skills to provide emergency care, and a well-designed and run emergency department. This helps to ensure that patients can be seen, treated and discharged quickly, or if needed, moved to a different part of the hospital to receive further care.

We want to find out why the trust is facing these problems, and whether its leadership team has the right plans in place to improve its A&E quickly for its patients.

We welcome the trusts openness to receiving support from Monitor and the CQC, and will work closely with them to understand the challenges they have faced so far and what can be done to help them in the future.

Monitor will consider the findings of its investigation to determine whether further regulatory action is needed at the trust.