• Shrewsbury and Telford Hospital Trust rated “inadequate” overall by the CQC
  • Quality and safety regulator claimed trust’s executive board had a “culture of defensiveness” 
  • Trust’s maternity and emergency care services have also been rated “inadequate” following months of safety concerns

Shrewsbury and Telford Hospital Trust has been rated “inadequate” by the Care Quality Commission following months of concerns over the safety of the trust’s accident and emergency and maternity services.

In a report published today, the CQC has also rated the troubled provider “inadequate” in the safety and well-led categories. However, it received “good” ratings in one out of three service sub-categories.

Earlier this month, the trust was placed into special measures by NHS Improvement after receiving three enforcement action notices from the regulator. 

The notices, first revealed by HSJ, raised serious concerns about the trust’s maternity and emergency departments, including that patients waiting on corridors in the trust’s A&E were being treated like “cattle.”

In September, HSJ revealed that the external review into 23 cases of alleged poor maternity care at the trust had been expanded to cover more than 100 cases. The numbers of incidents being reviewed have since increased to more than 200. 

In its report, the CQC raised multiple concerns about the trust’s leadership, including that the executive board had a “culture of defensiveness”, and staff felt they were not listened to and feared raising concerns. It also said there were gaps in the fit and proper person checks for all board members.

Concerns about the trust’s maternity and gynaecology services, which were rated “inadequate” for safety, included:

  • Midwives in the trust’s midwifery led unit feeling “pressurised” to care for women on the unit when they were best managed by the consultant-led unit due to their high risk;
  • High risk women not being reviewed regularly and by the appropriate member of staff;
  • Poor evidence of learning from serious incidents;
  • Concerns around shortages of midwives within the trust’s departments.

Within the trust’s urgent and emergency care services, also rated “inadequate” for safety, the CQC’s concerns included:

  • That at times of high pressure patients were not always assessed and treated in a safe and suitable environment;
  • Services did not always manage patient safety incidents well;
  • Not all services had sufficient numbers of permanent staff with the right qualifications;
  • There were not enough paediatric trained nurses to safely care for children and young people.

In a statement, Simon Wright, chief executive for SATH, said: “You cannot be unaffected by a report like this. I’m sorry and disappointed that we have not made as much progress to tackle the issues and challenges that the trust faces as we all want.

“But people should not lose sight of many things that [the trust] does not just well but significantly better than many other trusts around the country.”

Ted Baker, chief inspector of hospitals for the CQC, said: “We remain particularly concerned about the emergency department and maternity services at Shrewsbury and Telford Hospital Trust. We have already taken urgent action to protect people and we are monitoring the trust extremely closely.

“We will continue to work with NHS Improvement with regard to the trust. This trust must take action to ensure it makes all improvements necessary to give patients the standard of safe care they should be able to expect. We will return to check on progress with those improvements.”