Hospital wards at a Slough hospital were understaffed and “overflowing”, with nurses and doctors “too busy to support patients properly”, the health watchdog has said.
The Heatherwood and Wexham Park Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust have been placed into special measures by the hospital regulator Monitor following inspections by the Care Quality Commission in February. It is the fifteenth NHS trust to be sanctioned in this way under a new inspection regime introduced last year.
Chief inspector of hospitals Sir Mike Richards said that the trust leadership was “not equipped” to make the long-term changes required at the hospital, which was criticised for nurse and doctor shortages and consistent failures to meet waiting times targets in the accident and emergency department.
However, inspectors said that some parts of the hospital, including the children’s department, were operating well, and hospital staff were “kind and compassionate”.
As part of the special measures regime, senior staff from another well-performing NHS trust will be brought in to lead improvements.
The Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt said that the CQC’s report showed “rigorous new inspections” were working.
“The chief inspector of hospitals is speaking up for patients without fear or favour and shining an unprecedented light on NHS care.”