A recent investigation of 14 hospital trusts who reported high mortality rates found that at least 11 trusts will be placed under special measures for fundamental breaches of care.

The Telegraph reported that it was found that thousands more patients may have died than would be expected at the first 14 trusts which were investigated. The Health Secretary, Jeremy Hunt stated that external experts will be sent in to improve patient care and that all 14 trusts have been ordered to act on recommendations made by health officials.

The review, which was led by Professor Sir Bruce Keogh, found that not all of the hospitals investigated were providing consistently high quality care for patients and that more worryingly, in half of those trusts investigated, the Care Quality Commission failed to spot any real cause for concern, rating them as compliant with basic standards.

The review found examples across many of the hospitals of professional and geographical isolation, failure to act on information that show cause for concern and an absence of a culture of openness, the Telegraph reported.

Specific examples include patients being left on trolleys, poor maintenance in operating theatres, which could potentially put patients in danger; moving patients between wards repeatedly and with no reason given, staff working 12 days in a row without a break and low levels of clinical cover, especially out of hours and not surprisingly low staffing levels overall.

Mr Hunt stated that all trusts will be inspected again within the next 12 months by the new Chief Inspector of Hospitals, Professor Sir Mike Richards.

The 14 trusts which were investigated are as follows:

  1. Basildon and Thurrock University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust
  2. Buckinghamshire Healthcare NHS Trust
  3. Burton Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust
  4. East Lancashire NHS Trust
  5. George Eliot Hospital NHS Trust
  6. Medway NHS Foundation Trust
  7. North Lincolnshire and Goole NHS Foundation Trust
  8. North Cumbria University Hospitals NHS Trust
  9. Sherwood Forest Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust
  10. Tameside Hospital NHS Foundation Trust
  11. United Lincolnshire Hospitals NHS Trust
  12. Colchester Hospital University NHS Foundation Trust
  13. The Dudley Group NHS Foundation Trust
  14. Blackpool Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust