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The Care Quality Commission checks whether hospitals, care homes and care services are meeting government standards. Visit our website at www.cqc.org.uk.

Serious failings found at Barking, Havering and Redbridge

27 October 2011

Our investigation into Barking, Havering and Redbridge University Hospitals NHS Trust (BHRT) has revealed serious failings throughout the entire trust.

About the investigation

Our inspectors began the investigation into BHRT on 4 July 2011.

The investigation focused on maternity, elective and emergency care services provided at King George Hospital and Queen’s Hospital, and looked at the governance and management systems in place at the trust.

During the investigation we spoke to patients about their experiences of the services and interviewed more than 200 members of staff. We also conducted interviews and received written submissions from over 100 people who had previously used the trust's services.

Key findings

Despite some signs of improvement in recent months, patients still remain at risk of poor care, particularly those receiving maternity services.

Problems found in maternity services include:

  • poor clinical care.
  • abusive and unprofessional behaviour from staff.
  • a lack of learning from maternal deaths and incidents.
  • lack of leadership from senior management.

Other areas of concern can be found below.

  • A&E services at Queen’s Hospital struggled to meet the target for admissions.
  • Staff vacancies were filled by agency, locum or bank staff which had an impact on the quality of care.
  • Lines of communication within the new structure were unclear.
  • Trust governance systems and corporate governance were weak.
  • Response to complaints was poor.

We have now made 16 key recommendations to the trust, which we will monitor through unannounced inspections.

We will then review evidence in March 2012 to determine whether it is delivering improvements or not.