"Urgent action" is being taken against the trust that runs Shropshire's two main hospitals.
The Care Quality Commission announced today that it would be taking "urgent action to protect people at Shrewsbury and Telford Hospital NHS Trust" after inspections of its maternity and emergency departments earlier this year.
The Princess Royal Hospital and Royal Shrewsbury Hospitals - which are both run by the trust - were both visited by inspectors between August 21 and 31.
The maternity unit inspection led to concerns over the trust’s reduced foetal movements guidelines, while the inspection of the urgent and emergency units led to concerns over the treatment and recognition of sepsis.
SaTH said today that it had already taken steps to address concerns and that it took the safety of patients "very seriously."
As a result of the inspectors' findings, conditions have now been placed on the trust’s registration.
The conditions demand that:
- The trust reports weekly to the CQC detailing action it has taken yo ensure the system in place for clinical management of patients using midwifery services at The Princess Royal and Royal Shrewsbury Hospitals is effective.
- Regarding its urgent and emergency services, the trust must report weekly detailing its action to ensure the system in place for management of deteriorating patients and sepsis at The Princess Royal and Royal Shrewsbury Hospitals is effective.
- The trust ensures its emergency department at The Princess Royal Hospital is safe with equipment stored safely, that risk assessments are carried out and reviewed to ensure the environment remains safe and that all staff are aware of and adhere to protocols.
Professor Ted Baker, chief inspector of hospitals, said: "We remain very concerned about the emergency department and maternity services at Shrewsbury and Telford Hospital NHS Trust as a result of our inspections.
"This is why we have imposed urgent conditions on the trust’s registration to safeguard patients.
"The conditions require the trust to report to CQC on a weekly basis detailing the action it is taking to ensure the safety of patients using its emergency and maternity services, through its systems and audits.
"We are monitoring the trust extremely closely and continue to work with NHS Improvement to ensure patient safety improves. We will return to check on whether sufficient improvements have been made and will take further action if needed.”
The full findings of CQC’s inspections are due to be published in the coming weeks.The trust is currently rated as 'Requires Improvement' overall.
SaTH medical director Dr Edwin Borman said: "We take the safety of our patients and their care very seriously. We are addressing all the areas raised by the CQC.”
Deirdre Fowler, director of nursing, midwifery and quality at SaTH, added: "We meet national guidelines in our maternity unit and conduct twice daily consultant led ward rounds. We have now provided the CQC with the records that show this.
"Midwives in Shropshire’s Midwifery Led Units have in the past used CTG to monitor foetal movements and where there has been any cause for concern referred a mother to an obstetrician in the maternity unit in Princess Royal Hospital.
"In regards to the reviewing of CTG fetal monitoring by midwives in the MLUs, the trust has now changed its approach and all women are now monitored in PRH Obstetric Unit.
"It is very important that mothers who are concerned about their baby’s movements contact the trust or their midwife to be reviewed.”
Regarding the emergency departments, Dr Borman said: "We have implemented an action plan that focuses on the areas highlighted by the CQC, including the effective monitoring of patients that may be at risk of sepsis.
"We have also introduced daily safety huddles and senior clinically-led two hourly sweeps of the department; as well as spot checks overnight and out of hours.
"The practice of ‘boarding’ patients in our acute wards – in effect finding space on wards to accommodate patients during periods of high demand - is not in place, and we are working really hard to ensure that this does not re-occur.
"We absolutely strive to do our best for each and every one of our patients, but we know that we need to do even better.
"Our focus has always been on providing outstanding care, and that is true now more than ever.”