CQC report on Imperial NHS Trust: "Requires improvement" 21st Feb 2018

In November and December 2017 the CQC inspected the three major hospitals in the Imperial group (St Mary's, Charing Cross and Hammersmith). Their report has been published on 21st February 2018 and is available here.


In the Evening Standard, Ross Lydall reported:

One of London’s biggest NHS trusts was today criticised for treating A&E patients on trolleys in corridors.

Imperial College Healthcare, which had problems with soaring patient demand highlighted in an acclaimed BBC documentary last year, was rated by the Care Quality Commission as “requires improvement”.

But it was praised for “outstanding practice” at Hammersmith Hospital in pioneering a keyhole method of replacing damaged aortic valves, avoiding the need for open-heart surgery.

A new system at Charing Cross Hospital for diagnosing prostate cancer meant MRI scans and biopsies were done on the same day, resulting in “significantly fewer” men having to undergo painful tissue-sampling tests.

But today’s report shows the trust, which has one of the largest building maintenance backlogs in the NHS, had largely failed to improve in the three years since it was last inspected.

The rating for emergency services at Charing Cross fell from “good” to “requires improvement”. The layout and lack of capacity was “challenging”. Five resuscitation bays “were frequently used for seven to eight patients”.

The report said the lack of emergency capacity affected the “privacy and dignity” of patients. This was despite a refurbishment at St Mary’s, which is a major trauma centre. A £3.5 million upgrade of the emergency department at Charing Cross is planned.

Nine “black breaches” were declared in 12 months, eight of them at Charing Cross, because patients arriving by ambulance waited more than an hour to be handed over to hospital staff.

Bosses did not have a full understanding at times of extreme pressures as front line staff were too busy looking after patients to tell them

The trust was ordered to improve urgently the state of seven operating theatres at St Mary’s and implement “deep cleaning” schedules.

Professor Ted Baker, England’s chief inspector of hospitals, said: “There has been some improvement in care at Imperial College Healthcare NHS Trust and the quality of some services are outstanding. However, there is still plenty of scope for the ratings of the trust to improve.”

Imperial’s interim chief executive, Professor Julian Redhead, said: “In addition to the challenge of increasing demand for our services, we have a problem with an aging estate and shortage of space, especially at St Mary’s. 

“Despite our constraints, and thanks to our very skilled and dedicated staff, we continue to be rated ‘good’…  We’re determined to make further progress on the issues highlighted so that we can provide the very highest standard of care all round.”