PERFORMANCE: The Care Quality Commission has issued a warning notice to Basildon and Thurrock University Hospitals Foundation Trust after concerns service improvements have not gone far enough.

The trust – which appointed a new chief executive in the autumn – has been under the spotlight after several critical CQC reports, and having persistently high mortality rates.

Although the CQC’s unannounced inspection found many improvements, it was still concerned about how the trust assessed and monitored the quality of services.

Andrea Gordon, deputy director of operations (regions) for CQC, said: “Our inspectors found the trust had taken immediate action in relation to some of the concerns raised. We were pleased to see some improvements had been made and it is important that these are now embedded and sustained.

“However, we also found the trust needed to carry out more work in relation to how it assesses and assures itself of the quality of its own service. In light of this CQC has issued a warning asking the trust to ensure improvements are made in relation to this.”

The trust did not have a system in place to identify trends in internally reported incidents and had 1,300 “open” incidents. In the paediatric department at Basildon Hospital, there was inadequate risk reporting and action plans were not being signed off.

The CQC found there was increased confidence about improving risk management, but there were not effective systems to identify, protect and monitor against identified risks.

It also raised concerns around infection control, including used equipment being put away without being cleaned – and no evidence that cleaning would take place before it was used again.

There was praise for improvements in medical and nursing leadership practices, as well as staffing levels, safeguarding and medicines management.

Chief executive Clare Panniker said: “We take great heart in the positive comments contained in the report but are disappointed we still have an enforcement notice in place. However this relates to areas of governance rather than direct patient care and we have already started to address these weaknesses.

“I am particularly pleased that all 70 patients the inspection team spoke to while on site were universally happy and positive about the care they were receiving.

“We now have six months to address the remaining issues and we have every confidence in succeeding within that period.”

The trust pointed out an enforcement notice relating to care and welfare had been lifted.