Failings in care and problems with staffing at the 14 hospital trusts with the worst death rates in England are to be exposed.
A report was ordered amid concern that failing hospitals were not being held to account following the criticisms of the Francis Inquiry into Stafford Hospital, which said the public had been betrayed by a system which put “corporate self-interest” ahead of patients.
Its understood the Keogh report – as well as flagging up management failings – will also point to concerns over nurse staffing levels in the 14 hospitals under investigation.
The report will suggest there is a link between inadequate staffing levels and poor standards of care.
Its expected the report will say: “When the review teams visited the hospitals, they found frequent examples of inadequate numbers of nursing staff in some ward areas.”
Sir Bruce Keogh’s report will say all 14 hospitals are undertaking an urgent review of “safe staffing levels.”
The trusts investigated, which run a total of 19 acute hospitals, are the ones with the highest death rates in 2010-11 and 2011-12. They are:
• Basildon and Thurrock University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust
• Blackpool Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust
• Buckinghamshire Healthcare NHS Trust (Two hospitals – Stoke Mandeville and Wycombe)
• Burton Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust
• Colchester Hospital University NHS Foundation Trust
• The Dudley Group NHS Foundation Trust
• East Lancashire Hospitals NHS Trust (Two hospitals – Burnley General and Royal Blackburn)
• George Eliot Hospital NHS Trust
• Medway NHS Foundation Trust
• North Cumbria University Hospitals NHS Trust (Two hospitals – Cumberland Infirmary and West Cumberland)
• Northern Lincolnshire and Goole Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust (Three hospitals – Diana, Princess of Wales Hospital, Goole and District Hospital and Scunthorpe General)
• Sherwood Forest Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust
• Tameside Hospital NHS Foundation Trust
• United Lincolnshire Hospitals NHS Trust
At the moment, regulatory action is being taken against six of the trusts, but none is facing the ultimate sanctions of fines, closure of individual units or administration of the entire organisation.