Trust admits 'still more to do' despite diagnostic imaging improvements

Whipps Cross University Hospital (Picture: Katie Collins/PA)

Whipps Cross University Hospital - Credit: Katie Collins/PA

Inspectors found improvements in the diagnostic imaging services at Whipps Cross and Royal London Hospitals during a follow-up visit.

Barts Health NHS Trust was criticised by the Care Quality Commission (CQC) after inspecting the hospitals' provision in May.

At that inspection, it found "several serious concerns" at both venues, in Leytonstone and Whitechapel, including allegations of bullying and racism in the department.

Nicola Wise, CQC's head of hospital inspection for London, said after that report was published: "It was deeply concerning that, at both hospitals, staff were concerned about using mechanisms for raising concerns or reporting incidents because they were afraid they may be treated unfavourably by managers for doing so.”

Diagnostic imaging at Whipps Cross was rated 'inadequate', the care regulator's lowest level.

Ageing equipment at Whipps was found not to always work and rooms containing specialist equipment were not always locked.

CQC re-visited both hospitals in September and has published reports of its findings.

It said Barts had met requirements to deliver care safely in diagnostic imaging and CQC was assured the improvements were being "embedded".

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The trust found better governance processes for the department, with improvements in completing risk assessments.

Inspectors also found better oversight in staffing levels among radiographers.

A failure to prove "consistent" out of hours cover for these staff at Whipps Cross was one of the concerns raised at the last inspection.

After the latest visit, inspectors wrote: "The department removed the use of the separate system for recording out of hours shifts for staff in June 2021 and transferred all existing shifts to a single source for recording staff shifts.

"This allowed more effective monitoring of shifts both in and out of hours."

A spokesperson for Barts said: "We are pleased with the outcome of the follow-up CQC inspection of our imaging services.

"While we know there is still more to do, we have been working hard to make immediate improvements in response to the concerns identified in May.

"This includes the roll out of relevant training, updating risk assessments and carrying out a thorough review of the security and safety issues raised."