You are here

Chief Inspector of Hospitals recommends Walsall Healthcare NHS Trust should be placed into special measures

26 January 2016
  • Media,
  • Hospitals

England's Chief Inspector of Hospitals has recommended Walsall Healthcare NHS Trust should be placed into special measures after a Care Quality Commission inspection rated the trust as Inadequate overall.

Following inspections carried out in September, CQC found the trust - which provides acute hospital and community health services for around 260,000 people living in Walsall and the surrounding areas - needed to make urgent improvements to ensure it was consistently delivering care which was safe, effective, caring, responsive to people’s needs and was well-led.

Inspectors had concerns about the trust’s staffing in a number of areas. Workloads in the emergency department and maternity were seen to have resulted in care falling below the standards patients should be able to expect and incident reporting was seen to be variable across the trust.

Following the inspection CQC issued a warning to the trust demanding that urgent improvement took place.

CQC’s Chief Inspector of Hospitals, Professor Sir Mike Richards, said:

“We found a number of serious problems when we inspected the services run by Walsall Healthcare NHS Trust and I have made a recommendation to the Trust Development Authority that the trust should be placed into special measures.

“We made the TDA aware of our concerns following the inspection and it has started to work with the trust to make sure these are appropriately addressed and that progress is monitored.

“Following our inspection we issued the trust with a warning setting out that significant improvement was immediately required in a number of areas including maternity services and emergency care.

“However, we found that in many areas staff were dedicated and committed to patient care despite the pressures of staff shortages.

“The trust has responded to our inspection findings and warning with a detailed plan for remedial action and we will return to undertake further inspections, including unannounced visits, to check that the necessary improvements have been made.”

The inspection highlighted a number of concerns and areas where the trust must improve, including:

  • Governance of incident reporting systems needed to improve to ensure processes were embedded across the trust.
  • Duty of candour training needed to improve to ensure staff had a clear understanding of the process.
  • Training for complaints investigation, to improve the dissemination of lessons learned to front line staff and their managers, needed to be properly implemented.
  • Adequate numbers of qualified staff needed to be made available across all services, particularly in maternity services and the emergency department.
  • Equipment needed to be kept in good working order and fit for purpose across all services and be stored appropriately; keeping all fire exits free from obstruction.
  • Mental Capacity Assessments (MCA), Deprivation of Liberty Safeguards (DoLS) and Do Not Attempt CPR (DNACPR) assessments must be carried out in a timely manner and supported by appropriate documentation.
  • The patient administration system needed to be reviewed to minimise problems associated with missed patient appointments and its data needed to be accurate.
  • The trust needed to ensure health records were completed appropriately and maintain patient confidentiality at all times.

An inspection team, including doctors, nurses, midwives, trained members of the public, a variety of specialists, CQC inspectors and analysts spent three days at the trust between 8 and 10 September as part of an announced inspection. Three unannounced visits also followed as part of the same inspection on 13, 20 and 24 September 2015.

The inspection looked at services at Walsall Manor Hospital, community end of life services, community services for children young people and families and community services for adults.

The trust was rated as Inadequate for being safe, effective and well-led and rated as Requires Improvement for being caring and responsive.

Full reports will be published on the CQC website at:


For further information, please contact Louise Grifferty, Regional Engagement Manager on 07717 422917. Journalists wishing to speak to the press office outside of office hours can find out how to contact the team here. Please note: the press office is unable to advise members of the public on health or social care matters.

For general enquiries, please call 03000 61 61 61.

Last updated:
29 May 2017

Notes to editors


Hospitals are put into special measures when there are problems with the quality of care provided to some or all patients that the leadership of the trust cannot fix in a reasonable time without additional help. Often the decision that a hospital needs significant support to deliver improvements is made following an inspection by the CQC’s Chief Inspector of Hospitals. 


The Chief Inspector of Hospitals will normally make a recommendation if he thinks a hospital needs to be placed in special measures. At that stage, Monitor decides whether NHS foundation trusts go into special measures while the NHS TDA decides for other trusts. Further information can be found on CQC’s website:


The 15 trusts that are currently in special measures are: 

  • Barking, Havering and Redbridge University Hospitals NHS Trust
  • Colchester Hospital University NHS Foundation Trust 
  • Medway NHS Foundation Trust 
  • East Kent Hospitals University NHS Foundation Trust 
  • Sherwood Forest Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust
  • Wye Valley NHS Trust
  • Hinchingbrooke NHS Trust 
  • Norfolk and Suffolk NHS Foundation Trust (mental health trust) 
  • Barts Health NHS Trust 
  • West Hertfordshire NHS Trust
  • East Sussex Healthcare NHS Trust
  • Cambridge University NHS Foundation Trust
  • Worcester Acute Hospitals NHS Trust (subject to TDA’s decision)
  • London Ambulance Service NHS Trust
  • North Cumbria University Hospitals NHS Trust

The 11 trusts which have been taken out of special measures are:

  • Basildon and Thurrock University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust
  • Buckinghamshire Healthcare NHS Trust
  • East Lancashire NHS Trust 
  • George Eliot Hospital NHS Trust 
  • Heatherwood and Wexham Park Hospitals (now dissolved, but part of Frimley Health)
  • North Lincolnshire and Goole NHS Foundation Trust
  • United Lincolnshire Hospitals NHS Trust
  • Queen Elizabeth Hospital King's Lynn NHS Foundation Trust
  • Tameside Hospital NHS Foundation Trust
  • Burton Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust 
  • University Hospitals of Morecambe Bay NHS Foundation Trust 

The Chief Inspector of Hospitals, Professor Sir Mike Richards, is leading significantly larger inspection teams than before, headed up by clinical and other experts including trained members of the public. Whenever CQC inspects it will always ask the following five questions of every service: Is it safe? Is it effective? Is it caring? Is it responsive to people’s needs? Is it well-led? 


The Care Quality Commission has already presented its findings to a local Quality Summit, including NHS commissioners, providers, regulators and other public bodies. The purpose of the Quality Summit is to develop a plan of action and recommendations based on the inspection team’s findings. 


Since 1 April, providers have been required to display their ratings on their premises and on their websites so that the public can see their rating quickly and easily. For further information on the requirement for providers to prominently display their CQC ratings, please visit:


About the Care Quality Commission

The Care Quality Commission (CQC) is the independent regulator of health and social care in England.

We make sure health and social care services provide people with safe, effective, compassionate, high-quality care and we encourage care services to improve.

We monitor, inspect and regulate services to make sure they meet fundamental standards of quality and safety and we publish what we find to help people choose care.