Leeds Hospitals Trust faces probe over standards

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Hospitals in Leeds are facing a root-and-branch investigation over concerns about their standards.

Leeds Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust is among 24 across the country classed as at highest risk by the Care Quality Commission.

It has singled out the trust, which runs Leeds General Infirmary and St James’s Hospital, over high rates of the potentially-deadly bug Clostridium difficile, higher numbers of whistleblowing alerts by staff and problems training junior doctors - although death rates at its hospitals are well below the national average.

It is also criticised for potentially under-reporting patient safety incidents, with lower numbers of staff recommending their hospitals as a place to work or be treated and for problems between staff and managers.

Latest figures reveal the trust is facing fines worth £3.5 million due to failures tackling C.difficile and delays in waiting times for treatment between April and August.

In a report, the Care Quality Commission said hospitals in Leeds were in the highest-risk group of 160 NHS trusts nationwide against more than 150 key indicators.

In a statement, chief medical officer Yvette Oade and chief nurse Suzanne Hinchliffe said they were aware of risks highlighted.

“Our hospitals have significantly lower than the average mortality rates and our staff work hard to provide good quality care to our patients, and we hope this will be apparent when the first wave of inspections take place in January,” they said. “Action plans have been put in place and there has been good progress in making improvements, but we fully accept there is more to do.”

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