Warning for hospitals on NHS sick list as chief inspector says struggling facilities are ‘in denial’ over poor care

Exclusive: Some failing NHS Trusts won’t admit to problems, says chief inspector

Whitehall Editor

A hard core of struggling hospitals are “in denial” about their failure to provide safe and high-quality care to their patients, the chief inspector of hospitals warns.

In an interview with The Independent, Professor Sir Mike Richards said that some NHS trusts had failed to “look outside” their own institutions for what “sometimes seems like decades” and adopt the best practices of other, more successful hospitals. He said the public’s loyalty to the NHS should not “blind us to the fact” that the NHS does not always do “quite as good a job as we would like it to do”.

Sir Mike said that he had found many examples of outstanding NHS care in challenging financial and geographic circumstances. But he warned that a few hospitals were still denying that they had problems and proving resistant to efforts to help them improve.

“Some of the struggling trusts [we have inspected] have responded incredibly well but others less so. Some have said we can get on with it on our own. But there are those that are somewhat in denial about their current position. That’s not a healthy state to be in.”

Video: Hunt makes vow to improve hospital safety

Sir Mike, whose chief inspector of hospitals post was created after the Mid-Staffordshire scandal, said historically there had not been sufficient efforts made by some hospital managers and doctors to learn from the best practices elsewhere, which had led to poor practice being perpetuated.

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