Stoke & Staffordshire

Stafford Hospital told to make more progress

Stafford Hospital
Image caption An investigation into the babies' deaths is continuing

A health trust at the centre of a public inquiry over high mortality rates has been given an improvement notice.

Care Quality Commission (CQC) inspectors visited Stafford Hospital last November following the deaths of premature twin boys.

The watchdog told Mid Staffordshire NHS Trust it must make more progress in delivering patient care in three areas.

It stressed an inquiry into the twins' deaths was yet to publish its findings.

Alfie and Harry McQuillin were born prematurely at Stafford on 30 October and were transferred to North Staffordshire Royal Infirmary, where they died two days later.

The CQC sent inspectors to Stafford Hospital on 15 November to see whether there were wider issues relating to the twins' care.

"The review was not, however, an investigation into that specific case, nor was it intended to prejudice the independent investigation into that incident," a CQC spokeswoman said.

She said the inspectors concentrated on three areas "relevant to this serious incident."

These were how the trust managed medicines, staff training and supervision and the way patient care was audited.

The health watchdog has already sought improvement from the trust in these areas.

CQC regional director Angela Gordon said: "During this review we found that the trust has continued to make progress but not all systems were fully embedded.

"As such we are not assured that the trust is always identifying, assessing and managing risks consistently."

'Take time'

The trust has been given 28 days to provide a report to the CQC about how it will meet these essential standards.

The trust said the CQC visit was "a very short time after their last report at the end of October and does not take into account the action plans submitted by the trust on 19 November".

A spokeswoman said these plans were being implemented with deadlines ranging from end of December 2010 to the end of March 2011.

"However, new systems and processes take time to embed within any organisation," she said.

A public inquiry is currently examining past failings at the trust. A watchdog found there had been 400 more deaths than should have been expected at Stafford Hospital between 2005 and 2008.

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