Cambridge University Hospitals NHS Trust has been placed into special measures by watchdog Monitor, which has called for improvements at its Addenbrooke’s and Rosie hospitals after an investigation uncovered significant failings affecting the quality of care.

The regulator said it is also taking enforcement action following a probe into the trust’s poor finances and governance arrangements, which has left it facing a deficit of at lease £64 million this year, because of an average overspend of £1.2 million a week.

The trust has been slapped with an overall rating of ‘inadequate’ in a report by the Chief Inspector of Hospitals - which found concerns about staffing levels, delays in outpatients treatment and governance failings - and must now take a series of steps to become financially sustainable and fix the issues raised.

Monitor also imposed a new condition on the trust’s licence, opening the channel for further regulatory action, such as replacing members of the trust’s leadership team, if the required improvements are not made quickly enough for patients.

“It’s reassuring that the trust has already started to address some of the issues raised by the CQC and our investigation. But much more needs to be done and the trust’s leadership needs to act quickly to resolve these issues,” noted Stephen Hay, Managing Director of Provider Regulation.

Rapid action

Trust chair Jane Ramsey apologised to patients “for a lack of effective systems and processes”, and promised “rapid action” to maintain its “record of safety and high-quality care”.

Acting chief executive David Wherrett noted that services “continue to be recognised nationally and internationally for their safety and patient outcomes” with “patients less likely to die here, be harmed, or catch a hospital-acquired infection than at almost any other trust in the country”.

But the CQC’s report makes clear that “if we are to continue, and build, on this success, we need to make sure our internal processes are strong and effectively support the delivery of these outstanding outcomes”, he said.