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Your spotlight on local services

Whipps Cross CQC report released


Healthwatch Waltham Forest urges Barts Health to use the patient voice to drive better care


17 March 2015 - CQC releases its report on Whipps Cross Hosital and Barts Health is placed in special measures.

Healthwatch Waltham Forest today welcomes the release of the Care Quality Commission (CQC) inspection report on Whipps Cross Hospital and urges the Trust to take serious action and use the patient voice to drive better care. 

The report’s release, following inspection visits in November 2014, highlights a number of shocking and very serious concerns, and goes on to outline four ‘compliance’ actions, and a further four ‘enforcement’ actions. The report rates the hospital as ‘inadequate’ for urgent and emergency services, medical care, surgery, services for children and young people, end of life care, and outpatients and diagnostic imaging. It rates the hospital as ‘requires improvement’ for critical care and maternity and gynaecology. 

The findings, some of which are outlined below, will come both as a surprise to some residents, and as confirmation for others:

  •       Not enough nursing and medical staff
  •       Sub-optimal care
  •       Limited learning from incidents
  •       Delays in discharge, treatment and cancelled operations
  •       Variable management of patients nutrition and hydration needs
  •       Inaccurate or missing patient records for the majority attending outpatient appointments


Healthwatch Waltham Forest Chair, Sue Toole, said, ‘we are really concerned about the serious issues in this report. It reflects the concerns that many people raised with us and we are sad to see such poor standards in our local hospital.  The local community need and deserve better quality of care. We will continue to raise the concerns we receive with Barts Health and hope they will listen and respond effectively. We call on local people to continue to tell Healthwatch Waltham Forest about their experiences at Whipps Cross - both good and bad. Together we can use this data to help Barts Health improve the services to the community’.

Healthwatch Waltham Forest worked closely with the CQC in the lead up to this inspection, submitting patient experience information and evidence of local patient concerns. We continue to participate in discussions with Barts Health NHS Trust, CQC, Waltham Forest Clinical Commissioning Group (WFCCG), NHS England (London region) and the Trust Development Authority (TDA), seeking to formulate and support sustainable actions that positively impact upon the quality of care patients receive at the hospital, and across the Trust. In recent weeks Healthwatch Waltham Forest has led the development of a joint protocol with the Trust for dealing with urgent patient concerns received by Healthwatch. As the independent consumer champion for health and social care in the borough we are committed to ongoing participation in both new and developing processes emerging as a direct result of the CQC report. We will continue to challenge and support the Trust to listen and learn from patient experience information, and improve the quality of care for our residents.

Healthwatch Waltham Forest Manager, Jaime Walsh, said, ‘local people are passionate about Whipps Cross. With more joined up thought, commitment and resources for public and patient engagement and involvement, we could harness that passion and use the patient voice to drive better learning and better care. Healthwatch Waltham Forest will continue to work with Barts Health and others to ensure this happens consistently, and that the patient voice is really listened to and can influence meaningful change.’

Inpections at Royal London and Newham Hospitals in January 2015 and these reports are anticipated in the coming weeks. Healthwatch Waltham Forest is working closely with local Healthwatch across East London to ensure both Trust wide and site based patient experience and quality concerns are addressed on an ongoing basis. Darren Morgan, Information and Signposting Manager for both Healthwatch Waltham Forest and Newham said, ‘Barts Health is the largest NHS Trust in the country and employs over 15,000 people. We need to ensure this size does not get in the way of local focuses and local responses to site specific nuances. We remain committed to working with the trust, commissioners and inspectors to make sure our local hospital is safe and patient focussed’. 

The full CQC report can be found on their website here and is attached below.

A message from Waltham Forest Clinical Commissioning Group is attached below.

A copy of the Healthwatch Waltham Forest press release is attached below.

The following communication from Barts Health has been issued:

I am writing to inform you that Barts Health NHS Trust has today been placed in special measures following the publication of a Care Quality Commission (CQC) report into Whipps Cross University Hospital. The CQC conducted an inspection at Whipps Cross in November of last year and identified a number of areas where significant improvements are required. 

As a consequence of the Whipps Cross CQC report, combined with Trust-wide challenges in meeting national waiting time standards and the financial position at Barts Health, the NHS Trust Development Authority has placed the Trust in special measures.

The full report is available on the CQC website. In summary it identifies:

  • Insufficient staffing levels to provide safe care, high use of agency staff and low staff morale
  • A persisting culture of bullying and harassment
  • Bed occupancy that is too high
  • A failure to meet national waiting time targets


Overall, the CQC rates Whipps Cross as 'inadequate’ and has issued four warning notices to the Trust under the Health and Social Care Act.

The Trust Board accepts the CQC’s findings and we are extremely sorry for the failings identified. The report describes services that fall a long way short of what we aspire to. On behalf of the Board I want to assure you that we are strongly committed to achieving the improvements required to ensure the safety and welfare of every one of our patients.

The special measures regime is designed to deliver service improvements by providing support to trusts where it is most needed. It has worked well with NHS organisations in other parts of the country and we are confident it will work here. The support we receive will be tailored and targeted at those areas where the Trust is most challenged and where it needs to make the most significant improvements as rapidly as possible.

We have already taken steps to accelerate a programme of improvement at Whipps Cross, including strengthening the site leadership team. The hospital will now have a dedicated managing director, a director of nursing and a medical director to support its day-to-day running and its improvement journey. In addition, Dr Tim Peachey, Associate Medical Director at the NHS Trust Development Authority, has agreed to work with the Trust to help shape the quality improvement plan for Whipps Cross. Staff and health partners will have a critical role to play in delivering the necessary improvements.

While setting out the areas of concern, the CQC report also recognises good practice including our 'Great Expectations' maternity programme, which is designed to deliver a better experience for mothers-to-be, and the work of both the paediatric and adult pain management services. Four of our major hospital services at Whipps Cross are rated as ‘good’ for deliver caring treatment.

Clearly we still have much to do. We will be taking all the necessary steps to raise quality standards at Whipps Cross and we are confident that Whipps Cross will continue to play a vital role in providing acute healthcare in Waltham Forest and Redbridge. We will stand by our mission and values as we make the necessary improvements to ensure that we can deliver the high quality compassionate care that our patients deserve.

Yours sincerely


Peter Morris

Chief Executive



Healthwatch Waltham Forest Press release

Message from Waltham Forest CCG