Spire Leeds hospital down-rated after CQC uncovers safety issues

Spire Hospital in Leeds has been down-rated from Good to Requires Improvement by the CQC following an unannounced inspection which uncovered leadership, safety and governance issues in its surgical and children’s services.

The watchdog inspected surgery and services for children and young people at the 88-bed hospital in December after concerns were raised by staff and members of the public.

Inspectors found that safety was not always a high priority at the hospital and that governance arrangements were not always adequate. In its report, the regulator said the hospital could not reliably determine how many serious incidents had occurred and had not always notified the CQC of serious incidents in a timely manner.

Senior leaders at the hospital were criticised for failing to support a culture of identifying and learning from incidents and for being slow to act on safety improvements. According to inspectors, leaders in the service did not always have the ‘right skills, abilities, or integrity to run a service providing high-quality sustainable care’.

‘Senior leaders had failed to meet their duty of candour obligations consistently well. The culture was not one of fairness, openness, transparency, honesty, challenge and candour. Senior leaders were reactive and defensive. When something went wrong, people were not always told in an open and honest way or in a timely manner,’ said the report.

The regulator received five whistle-blowing reports about the service between November 2017 and October 2018. As a result of its inspection, surgery and children’s and young people’s services at the hospital were downgraded from Good to Requires Improvement.

The CQC has told the hospital it must take actions to comply with regulations on safe care, good governance and duty of candour as well as make other improvements.

Responding to the report, a spokesperson for Spire said: ‘We are disappointed with the Leeds rating given quality of care and patient safety is central to our strategy but we will redouble efforts to learn from the CQC findings and ensure Leeds joins the 76% of Good and Outstanding rated services in our group, including our Manchester hospital recently rated Outstanding.’