Trust accepts Keogh report on its hospitals and promises swift action on findings

16 July 2013

Today's publication of the Keogh report on Colchester General Hospital and Essex County Hospital has been accepted as "fair" by the Chief Executive of the NHS Trust responsible for their running.

Dr Gordon Coutts, Chief Executive of Colchester Hospital University NHS Foundation Trust, said: "We accept the report, which identifies a number of areas that require us to take action.

"However, it also confirms that overall both of our hospitals are improving. We understand that we need to make further changes and go on improving."

The review, led by Professor Sir Bruce Keogh, NHS England Medical Director, reviewed the quality of the care and treatment being provided by 14 hospital trusts in England, including Colchester Hospital Trust.

The report into the two hospitals calls for the Trust to speed up the implementation of its action plan, to address the areas identified for improvement and ensure consistency of care across all areas of the organisation.

However, the report also refers to "great examples of excellent care being delivered to patients," "a large number of committed and enthusiastic staff who were keen to give their best for patients" and "Across a variety of wards, patients provided positive feedback and were pleased with the quality of care".

Dr Coutts said: "The review gave us a welcome opportunity to pause and reflect on our work, and to focus on building on the progress we have made in recent years.

"I accept that in some cases we have not provided the best possible care across every ward or department in our hospitals and I apologise on behalf of the Trust to any patients and their families who we have let down.

"We recognise that there are steps that we need to take quickly to address the concerns raised by the review. An action plan is in place, which we are already implementing and we will continue to strive to be at our best consistently.

"I particularly welcome the positive comments about our staff. The review is spot-on when it says the 'workforce is committed, loyal, passionate, caring and motivated'. With their help we are confident that we can make the necessary improvements.

"The public and patients can be assured that the Trust and its staff will continue to put patients, their safety and wellbeing at the heart of everything they do."

Among the reports published today on the NHS Choices website ( is an action plan which sets out agreed actions to address "key issues". These include:

Dr Coutts thanked the patients and members of the public who contributed to the review, including the 50 people who met members of the review team at "listening events" in Colchester and Clacton. The review received 277 comments relating to patient feedback, of which 165 were positive.

The review panel spent two days at Colchester Hospital Trust on 4 and 5 June and also made a 3½ hour unannounced visit on the evening of 11 June.

Some members of the panel, including its Chair Liz Redfern, Chief Nurse for NHS England South, attended a Risk Summit held on 2 July at the offices of NHS England (Midlands and East) in Fulbourn, near Cambridge, at which the Trust's action plan was finalised.

Part of the risk summit was filmed and has been posted today on the NHS Choices website.

In it, Ms Redfern says the Trust had made huge improvements in the past three years. She said the panel had been impressed by staff of all disciplines, who she described as committed, enthusiastic and wanting to do the right thing.

The review had knocked the Trust's confidence and it was a shame that the level of pace and improvements had slowed as a result of the review, she added.

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