DAUK in HSJ: Trust stripped of ‘outstanding’ rating amid culture concerns

A trust battling allegations it led a “witch-hunt” to try and identify a whistleblower has today been stripped of its “outstanding” rating by the Care Quality Commission. The critical assessment of West Suffolk Foundation Trust, which is now rated “requires improvement” overall, is the latest significant blow for the hospital.

Once among the sector’s top performers, it is now facing fundamental questions about its leaders’ conduct and its overall performance. It is very unusual for a provider to drop two ratings from a single inspection, and the change makes West Suffolk one of a very small number of trusts which have earned then lost an “outstanding” rating.

The rating downgrade follows ministers ordering NHS England and Improvement to launch a “rapid and independent” review into WSFT following concerns over how it handled an alleged “witch-hunt” for a whistleblower.

Rinesh Parmar, chair of the Doctors’ Association UK, which campaigns for better working conditions for doctors, said: “The CQC’s findings have sadly tallied with what doctors on the frontline have told us, in particular, that ongoing patient safety concerns raised by clinicians have been dealt with in such a manner that staff no longer feel able to speak up.

“Despite this, dedicated staff at West Suffolk have spoken tirelessly of their commitment to patients, and we hope now that this report, in combination with the recently commissioned rapid review, will be the start of positive change within the trust.”

Excerpt from the HSJ, read the full article by Nick Kituno here.