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NHS Forth Valley placed in special measures over leadership

by Ozva Admin

NHS Forth Valley has been placed on special measures by the Scottish government amid concerns over “leadership, governance and culture”.

Health Secretary Humza Yousaf said the decision had been made to escalate the health board to Stage Four with immediate effect amid particularly poor performance in areas including A&E wait times and out-of-service services. GP office hours, and the lack of required security upgrades at Forth Valley Royal. after criticism from inspectors.

Stage four means the government will have “direct formal oversight” in the running of the NHS Forth Valley through an Assurance Board, which will be chaired by Christine McLaughlin, the Scottish government’s population health chair.

READ MORE: Tayside, Forth Valley and the truth about Scotland’s best and worst performing A&E departments

Yousaf said the Scottish government had been “engaging with NHS Forth Valley for some time on a variety of performance-related issues” but that “ongoing concerns” about safety had been highlighted during a series of unannounced inspections to Forth Valley Royal in Lambert. by Healthcare Improvement Scotland.

Yousaf said: “HIS have raised their concerns with the Scottish government as they have not seen the required improvements in the Forth Valley since the initial inspection.”

HIS is expected to release a report on the most recent inspection of the hospital “in the coming weeks,” Yousaf said.

The most recent HIS report, released in June, highlighted issues including the addition of a fifth bed to some four-bed bays to increase capacity and the use of treatment rooms as non-standard inpatient care areas.

The inspectors said clinical teams “expressed feelings of frustration at staffing levels and senior leadership decision-making… which they believed left wards understaffed and unsupported.”

Job openings were also high: more than 10 percent for registered nurses and nearly 14 percent for doctors.

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Mr Yousaf said the government was also concerned about the “sustainability and integration” of after-hours healthcare services in the region; “consistently poor A&E performance” compared to the four-hour standard; and “issues relating to the integration of social assistance”.

He added: “While poor performance in any of these discrete areas is cause for concern, I look forward to effective governance and strong leadership and an improved culture to bring about sustainable change.

“Unfortunately, I haven’t seen the leadership needed to drive improvement in these areas of concern.”

It comes after recent reports that five respiratory consultants had resigned from Forth Valley Hospital within two weeks of each other.

The Royal College of Nursing (RCN) and Unison reported “very serious concerns” about “unsafe practices and a culture of bullying” to the board of health in November.

An independent review later commissioned by NHS Forth Valley found that hospital staff underreported errors amid a “culture of fear”.

Forth Valley Royal’s emergency department is consistently the worst performer in terms of the four-hour standard, with less than 40 percent of patients in recent weeks seen within the target time.

The health council has continued to prioritize elective carehowever, and has much shorter waiting lists for planned operations than most of Scotland’s NHS.

An NHS Forth Valley spokesperson said: “We welcome the additional support being provided and are committed to working closely with the Scottish Government to implement any changes or improvements recommended by the assurance board.”

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