NHS Rescue Plan Pairs Failing Hospitals with Top Performers

In a move that echoes the super-heads scheme for troubled schools, managers from the best performing hospitals in England are to be sent into the eleven hospital trusts residing in special measures to bring them up to standard.

In the wake of the final report into the Stafford Hospital scandal, which highlighted a shocking culture of neglect and abuse, fourteen hospital trusts with high mortality rates were examined by Prof Sir Bruce Keogh. Eleven of these trusts were identified as failing, and were placed into special measures earlier this year due to a range of problems including patients left unmonitored on trolleys, staff working for 12 consecutive days without a break, and poor operating theatre maintenance.

These hospitals are now the focus of the new programme, which is expected to include bonus payments for successful improvements.

Ministers have yet to announce specific pairings, but Health Minister Jeremy Hunt called the managers who were involved a “handful of inspirational leaders”, and said that they were “anxious to help”. The Health Minister is also due to announce details of the NHS Leadership Programme which, it is hoped, will transform leadership within the NHS.

While Mr Hunt stated that mediocre management and lack of clinical leadership were key contributors to the problems at Stafford, Shadow health minister Jamie Reed criticised the plan, saying that the Keogh review revealed a loss of staff at the failing trusts, and that what the hospitals needed was more available nurses on the ground.

This follows recent calls by MPs for hospitals to publicly display the number of nurses on duty, and determine whether that meets the recommended ratio of one nurse per eight patients. The Times newspaper examined 46 hospitals and revealed that 43% of wards failed to meet this level. At the height of the problems, Stafford Hospital reached a ratio of one nurse to sixteen patients. Health Select Committee Chairman Stephen Dorrell said that there were still too many examples of “poor or mediocre” care.

This poor care may include such serious issues as misdiagnosis, surgical errors, or unnecessary medical delays caused by understaffing or overworked nurses, and patients involved may well be entitled to clinical negligence compensation. Here at Blackwater Law, our experienced medical negligence lawyers offer a compassionate and caring service which allows you to make informed decisions and claim the compensation that you deserve.