Pennine Acute Hospitals NHS Trust 'inadequate' on safety

North Manchester General Hospital and Royal Oldham Hospital Image copyright David Dixon/Google
Image caption North Manchester General Hospital and Royal Oldham Hospital have been rated as inadequate

One of the largest hospital trusts in England has been rated inadequate amid "serious concerns" over patient safety.

An inspection found risks were "not escalated in a timely way, if at all" at the Pennine Acute Hospitals NHS Trust (PAT) in Greater Manchester.

The Care Quality Commission (CQC) watchdog stopped short of putting it in special measures following the appointment of a new leadership team.

A PAT spokesman said "immediate actions" were being taken.

Formed in 2001, PAT runs four hospitals alongside community services, with 9,000 staff serving a population of 820,000 people.

After inspections in February and March, the CQC report criticised staffing levels, culture and systems. The patient care was rated as good but its previous leadership was described as inadequate.

Image copyright David Dixon/Geograph
Image caption Fairfield General Hospital was seen as needing improvement and Rochdale Infirmary was rated good

Inspectors found patient safety was "of significant concern", particularly in the A&E departments, maternity services, and services for children and young people.

Ellen Armistead, CQC's deputy chief inspector of hospitals, said: "Although we mostly saw staff treating patients in a compassionate and sensitive way, we had serious concerns about the systems and procedures that are in place to keep people safe and free from harm."

Following the inspection, the nearby Salford Royal NHS Foundation Trust, whose leadership team has been rated outstanding by CQC, was asked to take charge of PAT.

Sir David Dalton, who became chief executive in April, said that, while the report "doesn't make comfortable reading", he believed it was "fair... [and] holding up a mirror to the organisation".

Professor Matthew Makin, PAT medical director since March, said the new management had "taken immediate actions to strengthen the leadership and staffing arrangements".

Health devolution deal

The Trust has been given £9.2m to spend on improving services.

Lord Peter Smith, chair of Greater Manchester Health and Social Care Strategic Partnership Board, said that the recent devolution deal in which the area became the first English region to gain control of its health spending, had provided "the opportunity to work together... so that we can collectively raise standards".

However Jim McMahon, Oldham West and Royton MP, said it was "disappointing that no-one thought to inform the region's MPs of the results of this report before it was published".

"Responsibility for healthcare was devolved to Greater Manchester in a bid to improve things and to help create services that best suited the people of the region. But this is clearly not what is happening.

"I have made repeated requests for a meeting with the trust's chief executive Sir David Dalton and I will do everything I can to provide whatever support is needed to turn things around."

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