The Care Quality Commission has completed its inspection of the “Keogh trusts”, HSJ has learned.
Taking place under the care regulator’s revamped regime, the inspections will play a crucial part in determining whether 11 of the trusts are removed from “special measures”. The results are expected to be published by the end of July.
Last year NHS England medical director Sir Bruce Keogh led reviews of 14 trusts with persistently high mortality indicators.
When Sir Bruce delivered his findings in July, 11 were placed in special measures – a new system designed to turn around failing providers by “buddying” them with high performing trusts and appointing an external “improvement director”.
A CQC spokesman told HSJ that the inspections had been scheduled so it could “fulfil our commitment to report to the secretary of state on all Keogh trusts by the time parliament rises [on 22 July]”.
If the regulator thinks a provider in special measures has made sustainable improvements – particularly in terms of their leadership – it will recommend to Monitor and the NHS Trust Development Authority that they are removed.
Foundation Trust Network head of policy Miriam Deakin said it received “mixed feedback” from its members on the effectiveness of special measures.
“Some members have definitely seen the special measures support as a lever for change,” she said. “It has really helped them push through improvements which were perhaps difficult to make previously.”
However Ms Deakin said other trusts felt they were already aware of the problems identified and trying to tackle them, but “initiating the special measures in some instances held that up to a degree”.
“What’s really important for the regime is to get public and provider confidence, that it’s seen to be an objective judgment by the CQC, that improvements that have been made are recognised, and trusts are therefore released from the regime [and] re-win their full autonomy and are able to get on with the job.”
The first two Keogh trusts which may have the opportunity to have special measures removed are Basildon and Thurrock University Hospitals Foundation Trust and Buckinghamshire Healthcare Trust, which were both inspected earlier this year.
The CQC spokesman said no dates were fixed for publishing the inspection reports for these but they were “likely to be [in] early June”.