Isle of Wight NHS Trust to enter special measures

Isle of Wight NHS Trust to enter special measures

St Mary's Hospital, Isle of WightImage copyright
Mark Pilbeam

Image caption

Inspectors highlighted low staff morale, unsafe wards and cancelled operations at St Mary’s Hospital

Health services on the Isle of Wight are to be put into special measures after the NHS watchdog found a “deterioration in safety and quality”.

The Care Quality Commission (CQC) highlighted low staff morale, unsafe mental health wards and “out of touch” management in a leaked document seen by the BBC.

The CQC has declined to comment until its report is officially published.

The chief executive of the Isle of Wight NHS Trust resigned on Friday.

A letter sent by the chief inspector of hospitals, Prof Sir Mike Richards outlining the findings of its forthcoming report, rated the trust as “inadequate” and said there had not been enough progress made since the last CQC inspection in 2014.

Among the key findings were mental health wards which it described as “unsafe”, for example, it found regulations were breached by staff failing to report incidents.

Patients’ dignity was not protected, with male and female patients having to share the same bathrooms, and it found staff had not sought patients’ consent for treatment or examination, in some cases.

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Ms Baker said she felt the trust needed a “fresh pair of eyes”

‘Out of touch’

The report also raised staff shortages as an issue and noted that employees’ morale was “low”.

“Staff in many services were disillusioned and suffering work overload: some described bullying and harassment,” it said.

The trust’s “top-down” culture was criticised, with senior managers “failing to understand” what changes were needed and executives “out of touch” with what was happening on the front line.

It also found inadequate risk assessment of patients, an “insecure” ambulance station, delays in handovers from ambulances to emergency department, missed treatment targets and cancelled operations.

The trust has declined to comment on the contents of the letter.

Karen Baker stood down as the trust’s chief executive in March, ahead of the CQC’s report, saying after five years in charge the trust needed a “fresh pair of eyes”.

In her resignation statement, Ms Baker said: “It is true that the NHS on the Isle of Wight – like elsewhere – faces many big challenges and it is clear to me that we have not always provided the quality of care the public expects. I am very sorry about that.”