Colchester Hospital Put in Special Measures

15 November 2013

Colchester Hospital Put in Special Measures

Following an investigation by the Care Quality Commission (CQC), the health sector regulator, Monitor, has placed Colchester Hospital (part of Colchester Hospital University NHS Foundation Trust) in special measures "to ensure all its patients receive good quality care". This arose after a finding that the trust had breached its license to provide health services.

Initially the CQC health inspectors were told as part of their investigations that staff felt  "pressured or bullied" to change information and give the illusion that patients were being treated in line with national guidelines. Worryingly as a result of the alteration of the data, some patients may have missed out on necessary treatment in the time frames it should have been received and a number of cancer patients suffered "undue delays".

Essex Police had confirmed last week that the CQC had contacted it and that they were now reviewing the information provided to conclude whether or not a criminal investigation was necessary.

The hospital treats approximately 6,000 patients per year for cancer and after the concerns highlighted by the CQC regarding patient safety, quality and governance, the trust will now be required to ‘put right’ the transgressions that have taken place.

Adam Cayley, regional director for Monitor, said: "Following the urgent actions already taken to safeguard patients at the trust we have stepped in formally to assure the health and wellbeing of patients using the cancer pathway at Colchester.

"The trust has been given an explicit set of actions to improve the service it offers patients. We will be monitoring progress closely and we will not hesitate to take further regulatory action if required."

Trust chief executive Dr Gordon Coutts said: "We are truly sorry that in some cases cancer patients, their carers and families have not been given the high quality of care this trust always aims to provide.

"We have already taken action in response to the findings of the CQC report and we are continuing to address all of the concerns that were raised.

"Our priority is the safety and well-being of all our patients."

Chief inspector of hospitals professor Sir Mike Richards, said: "We welcome Monitor's decision to accept my recommendation to place Colchester Hospital University NHS Foundation Trust in special measures."

If you have experienced any form of medical mistreatment at Colchester Hospital, NHS trusts or any other hospital, or want to better understand exactly what your patient rights are, are pleased to offer advice and support to you. Our specialists have wide experience of providing advice and support across a number of areas relating to potential medical mistreatment, such as misdiagnosis and delay and surgery errors, for example.