Enforcement action taken at NHS trust over infection control concerns

Enforcement action has been taken at an NHS trust amid concerns over infection control, including people contracting Covid-19 in hospital.

The Care Quality Commission said it has launched action at East Kent Hospitals University NHS Foundation Trust following an inspection earlier this month.

Inspectors were responding to concerns about standards of care and risk to patients.

The watchdog would not comment on the nature of the enforcement action, but the PA news agency understands it relates to infection control including levels of hospital-acquired coronavirus.

The trust – which runs three acute hospitals – has been under the spotlight in recent weeks in relation to Covid-19.

Professor Ted Baker, the CQC’s chief inspector of hospitals, said: “As a result of serious concerns we have taken immediate enforcement action at East Kent Hospitals University NHS Foundation Trust.

“CQC inspectors visited the trust on Tuesday 12 August 2020 after concerns were raised about the standards of care and the risk to patients.”

The CQC said it would be inappropriate to comment on the details of the investigation since East Kent Hospitals has a right to appeal against the action.

A spokesman for the trust said: “Keeping our patients and staff safe is always our top priority.

“We have reviewed and are strengthening our procedures and training, overseen by an experienced director of infection prevention and control.

“We are asking our staff to always follow recommended guidance, are making further physical changes to our buildings to improve infection control and support social distancing, and have reported on this progress to the Care Quality Commission, while being supported by NHS England and NHS Improvement.”

The trust is also subject to an independent review in relation to its maternity service.

Care for mothers and newborn babies has been heavily criticised following a series of baby deaths.