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Shropshire baby deaths: Hospital trust 'has bullying culture'

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Media captionJack Burn edited hours after being born at Princess Royal Hospital in Telford

Staff at a hospital is an "culture of bullying and harassment", a report has revealed.

Shrewsbury and Telford Hospital Trust (SaTH), which is already in special measures, has now been rated inadequate by the Care Quality Commission (CQC).

Emergency and maternity services at two hospitals were deemed unsafe.

Trust chief executive Simon Wright said: "You cannot be unaffected by a report like this."

The 112-page report, published on Thursday, and the Royal Shrewsbury Hospital and Princess Royal Hospital in Telford, Shropshire. Overall, the trust was previously rated as "requires improvement".

It is about family care about about care at the trust.

It recently abandoned a plan to close Telford's A & E department at night, a drafting in extra staff instead.

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The Royal Shrewsbury Hospital and Princess Royal Hospital

Inspectors said as well as the bullying and price claims they "found a culture of defensiveness from the executive team".

They also found:

  • There are low morale among staff and high levels of stress and work overload
  • Medical care, surgery, critical care, end of life at both sites require improvement
  • Medical and nurse staffing particularly at Telford

A temporary midwife-led unit at Shrewsbury being used after its original building was crisis-managing last December was deemed "unfit for purpose" with senior staff.

There have also been short stories of midwives and maternity leave, the report found.


By Michael Buchanan, BBC social affairs correspondent

This damning report will be awful read for families who have lost babies as a result of errors by this trust.

Speak to any of them, and their fervent wish is that nobody has to go through the same experience as they did.

The continuing inability of trust, therefore, to ensure heart rates and failure to learn lessons after incidents, smacks of a callous arrogance towards those families.

This is a trust fund that has been badly led for years.

Today's report is stark in its denunciation of current management – not all of them have the "right skills and abilities" to provide "high-quality sustainable care."

Chief executive Simon Wright insists he is not out of depth, but under his watch the trust has demonstrably deteriorated.

The recently appointed chairman said that they "can't carry on doing the same things with the same people".

The growing chorus in Shropshire for Mr. Wright to resign will certainly hope so.

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Telford and Wrekin Council

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People have protested over plans to close the A & E department at The Princess Royal at night

The CQC has a list of issues that need to be tackled, including a review of midwife staffing levels to keep women and babies safe.

It should also improve how it works at the midwifery-led unit or day assessment unit and review its policy on reduced metal movements for midwives and sonographers.

Other required improvements covered the maintenance of safe environments, speeding up complaints handling, the secure storage of medicines and administration and antibiotics for patients with suspected sepsis.

However, inspectors are considered as "good" for being cared for and said they have found "examples of end-of-life care services at both sites."

The trust said some of the CQCs have been addressed through recruitment and improved reporting by its maternity services.

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A temporary midwife-led unit at Royal Shrewsbury Hospital was deemed "unfit for purpose"

Prof. Ted Baker, chief inspector of the hospital at CQC, said: "While we found staff to be caring and dedicated, there is clearly much work needed to ensure that people are safe.

"We remain particularly concerned about the emergency department and maternity services at the Shrewsbury and Telford Hospital NHS Trust.

"We have already taken urgent action to protect people and we are monitoring the trust very closely."

The chief executive Mr. Wright was apologetic and said that the trust was "disappointed that we have not made much progress to address the issues and challenges of the Trust faces as we all want".

"But people should not lose sight of many things that don't just feel good but significantly better than many other trusts around the country."

An independent review was commissioned by the government last year.

Previously, an estimated 3,000 people were marched in protest over the plan to close A & E at The Royal Princess at night, with the trust staff shortages for its decision.

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