Croydon is “high priority trust” for inspection, watchdog says

Hospital drip. Pic: Bastian.

Hospital drip. Pic: Bastian.

Croydon Health Services Trust has been labelled a “high priority” for inspection in the latest data from the Care Quality Commission, released in December.

This, according to the health watchdog, means that there is a “likelihood that people may not be receiving safe, effective, high-quality care.”

The result comes as part of the CQC’s “intelligent monitoring” programme, which allows the organisation to assess where their work is most urgently needed.

Trusts are placed in one of six bands, where band one indicates the trusts which are most in need of inspection and band six groups the lowest priority organisations. Croydon Health Services Trust is in band one.

Also in band one was Barts Health Trust, which includes the Royal London Hospital in Tower Hamlets.

The latest data coincides with reports that the Croydon Health Services Trust has relied on a cash injection of around £5.6 million to ensure the continued delivery of its services.

It also comes as Croydon University Hospital, a service run by the trust, was forced to declare a “major internal incident” last week, as it struggled to cope with increasing pressure on its Accident and Emergency Department.

A trust spokesperson said: “We are working hard to address the issues that are raised in the CQC’s monitoring report, primarily around improving the experience of care that our patients have when they are with us, which were raised by patients two years ago.”

“It is reassuring to note that the CQC has identified that there are no risks at the Trust to patients in relation to important areas such as mortality rates, infections or never events.”

The CQC said they analyse more than 150 sets of data on NHS trusts to help them decide when, where and what to inspect.

The information gathered includes that of staff comments, patient surveys, mortality rates and hospital performance rates, such as waiting times and infection rates.

The bands do not represent a “ranking” of hospitals and care services, according to the regulator, but allow them to assess where their efforts would be best spent. Completed judgements on services only happen after inspection has been completed.

The senior national GP advisor and responsible officer at the CQC, Nigel Sparrow, said: “Intelligent monitoring helps us to prioritise our inspection programme as well as informing the questions we will ask during the inspection. Intelligent monitoring will never be used in isolation to make a final judgment or produce a rating of a GP practice.”

However, the system drew controversy at the end of last year after a mistake in the data collection threw the results off kilter and well-performing trusts were dubbed “high-risk”.

Despite this, the watchdog insists that the new system is the most effective way of making “informed decisions” about the inspection process.

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