Page last updated at 11:42 GMT, Friday, 19 March 2010

Conditions imposed on Stafford Hospital trust

Stafford Hospital
The Francis reports said managers were preoccupied with cost-cutting

A hospital trust which was the subject of a damning report has been allowed to register with an NHS watchdog - but with conditions.

Last year, it was revealed there were more than 400 deaths than would be expected at Stafford Hospital between 2005 to 2008.

An independent inquiry report, published last month, also revealed details of patients being neglected.

The Care Quality Commission said it had concerns about some aspects of care.

Sixty-four health trusts have so far registered with the Care Quality Commission (CQC), allowing them to provide a service under a new tougher regulatory system.

However, two health trusts - the trust which looks after Stafford Hospital, the Mid Staffordshire NHS Foundation Trust, and another trust in Milton Keynes - have only been allowed to register with conditions imposed upon them.

If we find the improvements have not been delivered on time, the trust could face tougher enforcement action
Angela Gordon, CQC regional director

Mid Staffordshire NHS Foundation Trust also runs Cannock Hospital.

Andrea Gordon, the CQC's regional director, said the trust was non-compliant with six of 16 essential standards of safety and quality.

These include the care and welfare of its patients and also its assessment and monitoring procedures.

Ms Gordon said few trusts had undergone the levels of scrutiny that Mid Staffordshire had and that the scale of change required was not going to happen immediately.

"We are seeing progress and evidence that patient care is improving," she said.

"But we need to ensure the trust delivers its action plans on time and that patients see real improvement in their care on the wards," she said.

Patients neglected

A further review was about to begin at Stafford Hospital, she added.

"If we find the improvements have not been delivered on time, the trust could face tougher enforcement action."

Antony Sumara, chief executive of the Mid-Staffordshire trust, said action plans had been given to the CQC regarding the regulations the trust was not compliant with.

"Our action plans are already under way and will be completed by the set deadlines," he said.

He added the trust was compliant with the regulation relating to staffing levels.

Last month's report, by report written by Robert Francis QC, concluded patients were routinely neglected at the hospital after managers became preoccupied with cost-cutting and targets.

Since the original Healthcare Commission report inspectors have been carrying out regular checks and have said care is now safe, although some problems persist over staffing and equipment.

The chief executive and chairman in charge during the period in question have been replaced and the General Medical Council and Nursing and Midwifery Council are investigating some staff involved.



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