16 October 2015

See updates of 7 and 16 October 2015 at the end of this post

ORIGINAL POST 24 September 2015
Another judgement day for our Cornwall Hospitals NHS Trust (RCHT) with three hospitals at Treliske Truro, St Michaels Hayle, and West Cornwall Penzance. The latest Care Quality Commission (CQC) report on the RCHT, published 23 September this year, is here. Incidentally, scroll down that page for the report on the inspection of January 2015, published 27 March 2015.

The trust was inspected on four days in June this year. Do read the report on that inspection and consider what you think. I believe it is a mixed picture though the grim and unsafe have been rightly emphasised by the media. It is a very great concern that the report says the safety of services is “Inadequate.”

A serious issue in the report is shortage at times of suitably qualified staff on duty. I should like to see the CQC well analyse the origins of the shortage at RCHT and other hospitals. Does it consider it is all due to administrative inadequacies by RCHT or are government policies part of the cause? The CQC should consider how far present issues are due to government decisions, especially about cut backs on nurses’ jobs and training places and harsh limits on public sector pay rises; both by the Tory/Libdem coalition. The present Tory government is continuing public sector pay restraint. Is the work load now so onerous that it is damaging nurses’ wellbeing and the NHS?

The RCHT will be inspected again. Let’s hope the managers can engender large improvements. Let’s hope the CQC takes a wider look.

The RCHT ended 2014/15 with a deficit of nearly £7 million. It plans a £5.5 million deficit for 2015/16: see report here.

Further reading
Head of Royal College of Nursing – Nurse shortages are life-threatening: Guardian 2 September 2015

Polly Toynbee on government spending cuts damaging the NHS: Guardian 22 September 2015

Deborah Hopkins, Labour candidate for St Austell and Newquay in May, has an interesting take on this issue on her facebook

End of original post

Update 7 October 2015
Read the telling report by Denis Campbell in the Guardian NHS leadership in crisis as running hospitals becomes near-impossible.

Update 16 October 2015
The Care Quality Commission has just published its latest annual report The state of health care and adult social care in England 2014/15. This is the full report.

In the section dealing with acute hospitals the Commission reports that that two thirds of hospital trusts are in deficit (page 11 full report) and 8 percent of inspected hospitals are judged overall as “inadequate” and 57 percent “require improvement” (page 69). The CQC now says that hospitals are being asked to make significant savings and at the same time deliver an excellent service as work increases in load and complexity.