Monitor has put East Kent Hospitals University Foundation Trust in special measures more than two weeks after the Care Quality Commission recommended the move.

The announcement comes after the FT was rated “inadequate” in a damning CQC report which identified a “worrying disconnect” between management and frontline staff.

Monitor said it was taking action because of “serious failures in patient safety and leadership”.

An improvement director will be appointed to support the trust and to hold it to account against delivery of an action plan that it will be required to draw up.

Monitor said East Kent had also agreed to review its leadership and the way it measures patient waiting times.

In its report, the CQC said it had “concerns in relation to the accuracy of the documentation of waiting times in the accident and emergency department”.

Monitor is imposing an additional licence condition on the trust, which will allow it to take further action if East Kent fails to make the necessary changes.

Such action could include the replacement of members of its trust’s leadership team.

Monitor’s regional director Paul Streat said the trust urgently needed to improve patient safety and to “strengthen its management to better support frontline staff”.

“By putting the trust into special measures we can ensure they turn things around quickly,” he said.

“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.”

East Kent chief executive Stuart Bain said: “We want to work with our regulator Monitor, our staff and our health partners to make improvements to the services we provide to the people of east Kent.

“The trust is committed to working with staff and health partners to produce an action plan to address the issues raised by the CQC and Monitor and to see us removed from special measures as soon as possible.”

The delay between the CQC’s recommendation and Monitor formally accepting it has been longer than for the other trusts that have been placed in special measures to date.

Whereas nearly all trusts put in special measures so far have been the subject of prior serious concerns, East Kent received a clean bill of health under the CQC’s previous system, which was replaced by a more intensive system of inspection in September last year.

Prior to the CQC inspection it also had the highest possible Monitor rating for governance.