Gorleston hospital given clean bill of health by NHS watchdog Monitor

PUBLISHED: 15:56 21 December 2012 | UPDATED: 16:06 21 December 2012

General view of the James Paget University Hospital at Gorleston, Norfolk

October 2011

Picture: James Bass

General view of the James Paget University Hospital at Gorleston, Norfolk October 2011 Picture: James Bass

Archant Norfolk Photographic © 2011

Hospital regulator Monitor has given the James Paget University Hospital (JPH) in Gorleston a clean bill of health, after the hospital made improvements to handling patient risk.

Alarm bells at the watchdog - which is the independent regulator of NHS foundation trusts - were triggered in November 2011, when concerns over nutrition standards and risk to patients were raised by the Care Quality Commission (CQC).

It ruled that the JPH was in “significant breach” of its terms of authorisation.

These are the set of detailed requirements covering how NHS foundation trusts must operate, including requirements to meet healthcare targets and national standards, financial management and the requirement to cooperate with other NHS organisations.

But new management has turned the hospital around in the last year.

All concerns raised by the CQC were dealt with by summer 2012, and now Monitor is also satisfied with improvements.

Stephen Hay, managing director for provider regulation at Monitor, said: “We are confident that the board at the JPH has made the necessary changes to manage patient risk and for this reason we are removing the trust from significant breach.

“The board has assured us that they are on track to meet referral to treatment targets in the third quarter of 2012-13 and we will be monitoring the trust closely to make sure this happens.”

Last year Monitor concluded that the JPH did not have adequate processes in place to identify and address risks and found the trust was in significant breach of its terms of authorisation.

Their investigation came after the CQC raised concerns with nutrition standards and management of patient risk, but now Monitor’s concerns have been assuaged.

Inspectors say gaps in board governance have been bridged and risk management procedures bolstered, with new interim chief executive David Hill and chairman David Wright appointed.

A report by consultancy firm KPMG also found that the board is now functioning effectively.

However, the regulator has warned the trust that they must meet referral to treatment waiting time targets by January 2013 or face further action.

And chief executive David Hill has assured patients that staff are determined to make further improvements.

“Friday’s announcement by Monitor is further evidence of the improvements that have been made during this year and continue to be made,” he said. “This is also recognition for the staff.

“Without their dedication, these improvements would not have been possible.

“We are not complacent and the work to drive forward further improvements remains our priority.”

The trust had been reporting to Monitor on a regular basis, and will continue to work closely with the regulator.

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