PERFORMANCE: Wye Valley Trust has been placed in special measures after being rated ‘inadequate’ by the Care Quality Commission.

The care regulator recommended the Herefordshire trust be put in special measures following an inspection in June, the report of which was published today.

The NHS Trust Development Authority confirmed this morning that it had accepted the recommendation.

Wye Valley’s County Hospital was rated “inadequate” and its community services as “requires improvement” by the CQC.

The trust was judged to be “inadequate” in terms of whether services were safe, responsive and well led, and the effectiveness of services “requires improvement”.

However, caring at the trust was judged to be “good”.

The CQC inspected the trust because it was flagged as having a high risk of providing poor care under the regulator’s “intelligent monitoring” system.

According to the CQC, the trust had a higher than expected mortality rate as measured by the hospital standardised mortality ratio.

There were examples of patients not having “sufficient access to adequate nutrition and hydration”, and care was affected by medical, nursing and midwifery staffing shortages.

There were problems with the flow of patients through the trust, including instances when patients remained on a trolley in the accident and emergency department for over 12 hours.

“Do not attempt cardiopulmonary resuscitation” forms were not completed in line with trust policy, and the CQC also raised concerns about incident reporting and the escalation of risks.

However, areas of “outstanding” practice were also identified, including “dedicated and committed staff going the extra mile for their patients”.

The CQC was particularly concerned about Wye Valley’s A&E department and medical care

The chief inspector of hospitals, Sir Mike Richards, said: “Our inspection at Wye Valley Trust highlighted a number of concerns, in particular surrounding the accident and emergency department and medical care.

“I have made a recommendation to the [TDA] that the trust is placed into special measures and we have informed the TDA of the breaches.”

Kathryn Singh, TDA portfolio director, said the authority had formally accepted the recommendation and would “ensure the trust takes all necessary action to urgently address the concerns raised”.

University Hospitals Birmingham Foundation Trust will “buddy” with the trust to provide it with support, and an improvement director will be appointed to hold Wye Valley to account against delivery of an improvement plan.

Ms Singh said: “This is an important opportunity to address the significant challenges identified and ensure the trust achieves a strong position delivering excellent care for the long term future.

“Ultimately, this move will benefit the patients and residents of Hereford, and under special measures all services will continue to operate as usual.”

Wye Valley’s chief executive Richard Beeken said special measures would be “disappointing news for staff” but praised their “extraordinary commitment to patients”.

Trust chair Museji Ahmed Takolia said: “Resolving these issues goes wider than the trust alone and it will mean close partnership working with our commissioners, the Herefordshire Clinical Commissioning Group, and NHS England in particular, as well as neighbouring trusts in Gloucestershire, Worcestershire and the Powys Health Board to resolve them.”

There has been uncertainty over Wye Valley’s future since the trust board decided in March last year that it could not achieve foundation status as a standalone organisation.