Watchdog tells 12 NHS flagship hospitals to raise standards

Labour's 'gold-standard' trusts make up more than half of commission's hit list

Twelve flagShip NHS trusts with "foundation" status – supposed to denote gold standard medical treatment and care of patients – have failed to get a clean bill of health from the new regulator of the heath service.

They are among 22 trusts that have been ordered to improve their standards of patient care or face sanctions by the Care Quality Commission (CQC), which was set up last year to oversee improvements in the monitoring of the country's healthcare system.

The failed trusts include Basildon and Thurrock University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, where poor standards and care at an accident and emergency unit may have contributed to the unnecessary deaths of more than 400 patients, and Mid-Staffordshire NHS Foundation Trust, where the worst hospital scandal in more than a decade triggered the biggest safety review in the NHS since Labour came to power.

All 378 NHS trusts in England are now registered with the CQC, but 22 must fulfill certain conditions in order to keep their registration. Seven of these have been told to make urgent improvements and the commission could in theory close hospital units, or even an entire trust, if improvements are not made.

Under the new registration scheme, the CQC can also impose fines, launch prosecutions or suspend services at failing trusts. Previous regulators, such as the Healthcare Commission, have only been able to urge ministers to take action. "We will now be monitoring these trusts constantly, carrying out more unannounced inspections and using our tough new enforcement powers to make sure people get better care," said Cynthia Bower, the chief executive of the CQC.

"For 22 trusts, registration is conditional on improvements being made. We have set out the steps we expect to be taken and by when. It is now the responsibility of these trusts to ensure improvements are made. If they fail to act, we will take appropriate action.

"Most conditions were imposed in relation to the care and welfare of people who use services. This makes it clear that some trusts must do more to make sure people experience effective, safe and appropriate care that meets their needs and respects their rights," Ms Bower said.

Of the 22 trusts, 15 are in the acute sector, four are in mental health, two are primary care trusts and one is an ambulance trust. The foundation status is supposed to mean that they give a gold standard level of care to patients and in return receive more autonomy – and funding – from central government.

Foundation trusts were created in 2004, and gave more control to local management teams. Held up by the Government as being at the "cutting edge" of healthcare, they have to show they are financially viable and provide better services in return for the extra freedom.

Around 130 NHS trusts have been given foundation trust status since the scheme was launched. Patients' groups said the fact that a significant number have been told to improve raises questions about their flagship status.

"Foundation trusts are meant to be the Premier League of the NHS. But these results call into question the assessment process and actual status," said Katherine Murphy, director of the Patients' Association. "There is too much emphasis placed on financial performance rather than quality of care. The foundation trust regime needs looking into."

The seven foundation trusts told to make urgent improvements are: Basildon and Thurrock University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust; Heart of England NHS Foundation Trust; Heatherwood and Wexham Park Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust; Medway NHS Foundation Trust; Peterborough and Stamford Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust; Sherwood Forest Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust; and Tameside Hospital NHS Foundation Trust.

The five others foundations with conditions are: Luton and Dunstable Hospital NHS Foundation Trust; Northern Lincolnshire and Goole Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust; Surrey and Borders Partnership NHS Foundation Trust; Mid Staffordshire NHS Foundation Trust; and Milton Keynes Hospital NHS Foundation Trust.

Mid Staffordshire was subject to an independent inquiry which earlier this year found that patients were subject to "unimaginable suffering" by staff. A report into Basildon and Thurrock also found higher than expected death rates among patients and poor standards of hygiene.

Suggested Topics
PROMOTED VIDEO
Life and Style
ebookNow available in paperback
Life and Style
ebooksA superb mix of recipes serving up the freshest of local produce in a delicious range of styles
News
The data shows that the number of “unlawfully” large infant classes has doubled in the last 12 months alone
i100Mike Stuchbery, a teacher in Great Yarmouth, said he received abuse
Arts and Entertainment
The starship in Star Wars: The Force Awakens
filmsThe first glimpse of JJ Abrams' new film has been released online
Sport
Rio Ferdinand returns for QPR
sportRio Ferdinand returns from his three-game suspension today
News
The Speaker of the House will takes his turn as guest editor of the Today programme
arts + ents
News
people

Watch the spoof Thanksgiving segment filmed for Live!
Sport
Billy Twelvetrees will start for England against Australia tomorrow with Owen Farrell dropping to the bench
rugbyEngland need a victory against Australia today
Arts and Entertainment
The cover of The Guest Cat – expect to see it everywhere
books
Sport
Tyson Fury poses outside the Imperial War Museum in south London ahead of his fight against Dereck Chisora
boxingAll British heavyweight clash gets underway on Saturday night
News
i100 Charity collates series of videos that show acts of kindness to animals
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

ES Rentals

    Independent Dating
    and  

    By clicking 'Search' you
    are agreeing to our
    Terms of Use.

    iJobs Job Widget
    iJobs General

    Opilio Recruitment: QA Automation Engineer

    £30k - 38k per year + Benefits: Opilio Recruitment: An award-winning consume...

    Opilio Recruitment: UX & Design Specialist

    £40k - 45k per year + Benefits: Opilio Recruitment: A fantastic opportunity ...

    Opilio Recruitment: Publishing Application Support Analyst

    £30k - 35k per year + Benefits: Opilio Recruitment: We’re currently re...

    Opilio Recruitment: Digital Marketing Manager

    £35k - 45k per year + benefits: Opilio Recruitment: A fantastic opportunity ...

    Day In a Page

    Homeless Veterans Christmas Appeal: ‘We give them hope. They come to us when no one else can help’

    Christmas Appeal

    Meet the charity giving homeless veterans hope – and who they turn to when no one else can help
    Should doctors and patients learn to plan humane, happier endings rather than trying to prolong life?

    Is it always right to try to prolong life?

    Most of us would prefer to die in our own beds, with our families beside us. But, as a GP, Margaret McCartney sees too many end their days in a medicalised battle
    Thomas Cook's outgoing boss Harriet Green got by on four hours sleep a night - is that what it takes for women to get to the top?

    What does it take for women to get to the top?

    Thomas Cook's outgoing boss Harriet Green got by on four hours sleep a night and told women they had to do more if they wanted to get on
    Christmas jumper craze: Inside the UK factory behind this year's multicultural must-have

    Knitting pretty: British Christmas Jumpers

    Simmy Richman visits Jack Masters, the company behind this year's multicultural must-have
    French chefs have launched a campaign to end violence in kitchens - should British restaurants follow suit?

    French chefs campaign against bullying

    A group of top chefs signed a manifesto against violence in kitchens following the sacking of a chef at a Paris restaurant for scalding his kitchen assistant with a white-hot spoon
    Radio 4 to broadcast 10-hour War and Peace on New Year's Day as Controller warns of cuts

    Just what you need on a New Year hangover...

    Radio 4 to broadcast 10-hour adaptation of War and Peace on first day of 2015
    Cuba set to stage its first US musical in 50 years

    Cuba to stage first US musical in 50 years

    Claire Allfree finds out if the new production of Rent will hit the right note in Havana
    Christmas 2014: 10 best educational toys

    Learn and play: 10 best educational toys

    Of course you want them to have fun, but even better if they can learn at the same time
    Paul Scholes column: I like Brendan Rodgers as a manager but Liverpool seem to be going backwards not forwards this season

    Paul Scholes column

    I like Brendan Rodgers as a manager but Liverpool seem to be going backwards not forwards this season
    Lewis Moody column: Stuart Lancaster has made all the right calls – now England must deliver

    Lewis Moody: Lancaster has made all the right calls – now England must deliver

    So what must the red-rose do differently? They have to take the points on offer 
    Cameron, Miliband and Clegg join forces for Homeless Veterans campaign

    Cameron, Miliband and Clegg join forces for Homeless Veterans campaign

    It's in all our interests to look after servicemen and women who fall on hard times, say party leaders
    Millionaire Sol Campbell wades into wealthy backlash against Labour's mansion tax

    Sol Campbell cries foul at Labour's mansion tax

    The former England defender joins Myleene Klass, Griff Rhys Jones and Melvyn Bragg in criticising proposals
    Nicolas Sarkozy returns: The ex-President is preparing to fight for the leadership of France's main opposition party – but will he win big enough?

    Sarkozy returns

    The ex-President is preparing to fight for the leadership of France's main opposition party – but will he win big enough?
    Is the criticism of Ed Miliband a coded form of anti-Semitism?

    Is the criticism of Miliband anti-Semitic?

    Attacks on the Labour leader have coalesced around a sense that he is different, weird, a man apart. But is the criticism more sinister?
    Ouija boards are the must-have gift this Christmas, fuelled by a schlock horror film

    Ouija boards are the must-have festive gift

    Simon Usborne explores the appeal - and mysteries - of a century-old parlour game