AN NHS chief has apologised to patients after it was recommended the trust that oversees Wexham Park Hospital is placed in special measures.
A Care Quality Commission report has ruled that Wexham Park Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust should be placed in special measures.
Monitor, the health regulator, has accepted the verdict of the CQC inspectors.
Buckinghamshire Healthcare NHS Trust was also placed in special measures because of major failings in July following Sir Bruce Keogh's review.
The trust’s acting chief executive, Grant MacDonald, said: “We fully accept the findings of this review and welcome the help and support that we will now receive as a result of being placed in special measures.
“We sincerely apologise to all of our patients and local communities for failing to provide the level of service they deserve.
“We are committed to tackling all the issues in the report with a structured and planned approach that will embed good practice and consistently deliver high quality care.”
The CQC report – the third in the past year – recognised that progress had been made since inspectors last visited the hospital.
But inspectors ruled substantial work is still required to improve the Slough-based hospital’s quality of service –described as “inadequate.”
The report states there is a shortage of clinical staff so there is a heavy reliance on agency staff that are unfamiliar to the hospital wards.
Staff were found to be kind and compassionate but often too busy to support patients properly and there is a “lack of clinical engagement”.
While the NHS trust has not done enough to tackle bullying and harassment, the CQC inspectors said.
The report did however recognise that critical care and children’s services at Wexham Park were “good” and hospital mortality rates are “good” when compared with national rates.
Mr MacDonald said: “Since the last CQC report four months ago, we have done a great deal to tackle the issues raised and clearly we must now do more.
“The health regulator, Monitor, requires the trust to urgently implement an action plan to prevent future poor care and this is our main priority.
“Despite the fact we have taken a number of actions already, it is clear a great deal more still needs to be done and our task is to get on and do it.
“I am determined to do whatever it takes to ensure our patients receive the very best care they deserve.”
He added hospital chiefs had been in takeover talks with Frimley Park NHS Foundation Trust.
Mr MacDonald said: “This potential acquisition would offer greater certainty around the trust’s future and make it easier to recruit and retain good staff.
“We will continue to pursue this with pace and vigour. I welcome the comments made by Monitor that ‘patients…want good quality care provided by their local hospital.
“The best way for this to happen is a takeover by Frimley Park, and we’re working hard to help make this happen.”