Heatherwood and Wexham Park NHS Trust in special measures

Wexham Park Hospital
Image caption Inspectors say Wexham Park Hospital has a 'long history of problems'

An NHS trust that was ordered to make "urgent improvements" has now been placed in special measures.

Heatherwood and Wexham Park Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust (HWP) in Berkshire must "prevent further poor care", health regulator, Monitor said.

It follows the latest Care Quality Commission (CQC) report which rated it as inadequate four months ago. The trust was £6.9m in debt in April 2013.

HWP said it "fully accepted" the report and "sincerely apologised" to patients.

'Deserve better'

The CQC identified areas for improvement including staffing levels, A&E waiting times and surgical cancellations.

Inspectors also said "accusations of harassment and bullying" were reported throughout the organisation.

Special measures status involves implementing a series of urgent improvements to care and management.

Monitor has also arranged for the trust to "partner" with neighbouring Frimley Park NHS Foundation Trust, as a potentially long-term solution.

Director Mark Turner said: "Patients deserve better, and performance to date has simply not been good enough."

'This cannot go on'

The trust said it "welcomed" the extra support it would receive.

Grant MacDonald, acting chief executive, said: "Since the last CQC report four months ago, we have done a great deal to tackle the issues raised and clearly we must now do more," he said.

Professor Sir Mike Richards, the CQC's chief inspector of hospitals, said although there were "some positives" at the trust, Wexham Park had a "long history of problems".

"The legacy of these problems is all too apparent in the safety culture, the staffing levels, and the overflowing wards," he said.

"The staff can't go on firefighting, reacting to the latest pressures, without a clear vision about the hospital's future direction. This cannot go on."

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