PERFORMANCE: Regulators have said a failing foundation trust requires a ‘close tie-up with a long term partner’, after spending more than two years in special measures.

  • CQC and Monitor: Trust needs “long term partner” in order to improve
  • Sherwood Forest Hospitals has deteriorated, CQC finds, and remains in special measures
  • Monitor appoints improvement director and nursing director

Chief inspector of hospitals Sir Mike Richards has written to the health secretary to recommend Sherwood Forest Hospitals FT remains in special measures following an inspection in June.

The Care Quality Commission’s report on its findings, published today, rates the FT “inadequate”. Concerns including over sepsis care, incident reporting and trust leadership led the inspectorate to reduce the FT’s rating from “requires improvement” which it was given last year.

King's Mill hospital

Sir Mike Richards has recommended Sherwood Forest Hospitals stay in special measures

The CQC and the sector regulator Monitor said in a joint statement that Sherwood Forest required a “close tie-up with a long term partner” in order to improve.

A Monitor spokesman would not specify what form such a partnership could take, when asked by HSJ, but said “nothing is off the table”, including the possibility of takeover by another NHS provider.

The regulator has also appointed Suzanne Banks, previously nursing director at Mid Staffordshire FT, as interim director of nursing, and Eric Morton, also a former interim at Mid Staffordshire, as improvement director.

The East Midlands trust has been in special measures since summer 2013, when it was one of the first 11 organisations placed in the regime.

The CQC is required to inspect and make a recommendation to Jeremy Hunt on whether special measures should remain in place after 18 months. It recommended North Cumbria University Hospitals Trust, another of the first 11, stay in the regime earlier this year.

Sir Mike said: “Rather than getting better, our latest inspection shows a noticeable decline in ratings.”

The CQC said its inspectors found Sherwood Forest did not always report incidents in an open and transparent way. The death rate for patients with sepsis, a potentially life threatening condition triggered by an infection, was found to be almost double the national average from April 2014 to February 2015. Inspectors said that actions taken to address concerns had not reduced mortality.

However, the trust continued to be rated “good” for whether its services were caring.

Sir Mike added: “The trust is now rated ‘inadequate’ for safety, effectiveness and being well led. This is extremely concerning, both in terms of the quality of care that people can expect from the trust, and for what it says about the trust’s ability to improve. This situation must not be allowed to continue.”

The trust has been ordered to carry out a number of measures to improve care, including ensuring staff receive appropriate training about sepsis.

Sherwood Forest acting chief executive Karen Fisher said: “We are extremely disappointed about the shortfalls the CQC has identified. We are sorry we have let down our patients by not meeting the high quality standards they rightly expect.”