Hospitals and other NHS trusts have been warned there will be a zero tolerance on failings by new health managers for the region in the wake of a string of serious errors.
“Consequences” for managers not meeting standards are being drawn up in a new tough stance that will also see failing NHS bodies publicly named and shamed.
It comes as four hospital trusts reported six “never” events – the most severe of incidents that should never happen – in the West Midlands from April to June.
Royal Wolverhampton NHS Trust, running New Cross Hospital, recorded two never events of operating on the wrong part of the body and a foreign object being left inside a patient.
Mid Staffordshire NHS Foundation Trust reported two occasions when a foreign object, such as equipment, was left in a patient and Sandwell and West Birmingham Trust, running City Hospital and Sandwell Hospital, reported one of these incidents.
Robert Jones and Agnes Hunt Orthopaedic Hospital, in Oswestry, Shropshire, also saw a wrong implant used in surgery.
Plus there has also been a surge in cases of Clostridium difficile (C.diff) to 1,290 cases so far this financial year since April, 269 worse than the highest amount set for the region.
West Midlands health authority merged with the East of England to become NHS Midlands and East a month ago when a host of new board members took over at the helm.
New chief executive Sir Neil McKay warned: “Organisations are failing against their plans and I get so agitated by this. We have a right that people meet their demands. We need to look at the consequences we will apply.
“I’m not looking at sacking boards, but there are other measures. The number of never events are outrageous because they are all avoidable.”
Sir Neil added: “We should be outraged at these figures. There is nothing new on measures to prevent C.diff. There is no excuse and there should be a resounding message that we are not going to tolerate an organisation not meeting its plan.”
Professor Robert Harris, who has taken over as NHS Midlands and East director of performance and operations, said he would be working closely with hospitals and primary care trusts to improve performance.
“We need to take a closer look at Never Events and there’s going to some controversy as I have named organisations as I think it’s the right thing to do on those not delivering on their promise,” said Prof Harris.
“C.diff is widely in the West Midlands and there is an issue. Frankly, 269 is inexcusable.There is an inconsistency on testing and methodology so there is a need for further rumination and we are going to do some visits and contact trusts about prescribing antibiotics.”
NHS trusts shown to be above the target limit for superbug C.diff in the previous quarter of the year were Heart of England Foundation Trust, running Heartlands, Solihull and Good Hope hospitals, Dudley’s Russells Hall Hospital, Walsall Manor Hospital, Wolverhampton’s New Cross and University Hospitals Coventry and Warwickshire NHS Trust.
Others are Burton Hospital, South Warwickshire NHS Foundation Trust, George Eliot Hospital, in Nuneaton, and Mid Staffordshire Foundation Trust.