Hospital trust given ‘requires improvement’ rating by health watchdog

The trust runs Central Middlesex and Northwick Park hospitals

The trust runs Central Middlesex and Northwick Park hospitals - Credit: Archant

The trust that manages Central Middlesex and Northwick Park hospitals has been slammed by a health watchdog for failing to provide enough trained and experienced medics for seriously ill patients.

Jacqueline Docherty is the trust's chief executive

Jacqueline Docherty is the trust's chief executive - Credit: Archant

Safety at hospitals led by London North West Healthcare NHS Trust (LNWH) has also been criticized by the Care Quality Commission (CQC) in a report released today which rates it as ‘requiring improvement’.

The CQC ruled the trust needs to improve its safety, be more effective, responsive and better-led following an inspection that highlighted the shortage of specialist doctors on its high dependency unit.

Health chiefs have ordered the trust to provide more staff on the unit and additional expert support for consultant radiologists at weekends.

However the report also praises Northwick Park’s A&E services, which had a £21million makeover following the closure of Central Middlesex’s casualty unit, and their children’s ward.

Northwick Park Hospital's A&E unit was praised by the CQC

Northwick Park Hospital's A&E unit was praised by the CQC - Credit: Archant

LNWH’s staff’s caring attitude and its partnership working was also given the thumbs-up following the inspection which took place last October.

The trust became one of the biggest in the country following a merger between North West London Hospitals and Ealing NHS Trusts in October 2014 to save £19m.

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Announcing the ‘requires improvement’ rating, Professor Sir Mike Richards, the chief inspector of hospitals, said: “I am aware that the trust has only recently appointed a new executive team which at the time of our inspection were still in the process of getting to grips with their respective functions.

“We found all staff working at the hospitals were dedicated, caring and supportive of each other within their ward and locality. But there was still a high degree of anxiety and uncertainty borne out of the merger.

“We saw several areas of good practice or progress including: a newly opened emergency department at Northwick Park; a refurbished and child friendly ward for children’s care called Jack’s Place; caring attitudes, and good partnership working.

“However we had significant concerns about the provision of expert support for consultant radiologists at weekends.

“The trust needs to provide sufficient trained and experienced medical and nursing cover on the high dependency unit all times to ensure immediate availability on the unit.

“We issued the trust with a warning notice in relation to these “must do” items.

“We will return in the near future to check that the trust has made the improvements that we require for the benefit of its patients.”

Jacqueline Docherty DBE, LNWH’s chief executive, said: “Today’s report from the CQC presents a fair reflection of the trust.

“It identifies where improvements are required and also recognises areas of good performance and outstanding practice. Importantly, the report confirms the care, commitment and compassion of our staff.

“As a trust we aspire to provide the best possible care to all of our patients. We have a good understanding of the challenges that we face and work is well underway to improve our services.

“Since the inspection in October 2015, the trust has been addressing the issues raised in the CQC report.

“We have already developed an action plan and will hold a Quality Summit in July with our external partners to jointly agree and deliver these improvements so that we can provide the very best health and social care for all of our patients.”