Despite a third of all categories inspected by the Care Quality Commission (CQC) during a visit to The Shrewsbury and Telford Hospital NHS Trust (SaTH) being rated “Good” by inspectors, the Trust has been rated overall as "Inadequate".

Overall, 33 per cent of categories were rated by inspectors as Good, 19 per cent were rated as “Inadequate”, with the rest rated as “Requires improvement”.

The CQC recorded that overall the Trust was rated as “Inadequate”. SaTH is now one of 20 trusts in England in the support regime “special measures”.

Almost all services were recorded as Good for “Caring” whilst areas of outstanding practice were found in postnatal maternity care as well as many in support of patients and their families in end of life care.

Chief executive Simon Wright said: “You cannot be unaffected by a report like this. I’m sorry and disappointed that we have not made as much progress to tackle the issues and challenges that the Trust faces as we all want.

“But people should not lose sight of many things that SaTH does not just well but significantly better than many other trusts around the country.”

SaTH exceeds the national Referral to Treatment (RTT) target and is ranked 18 out of 126 trusts. Its diagnostic waiting times are among the best in the country with the latest figures revealing that 99.69 per cent of patients received a diagnostic test within six weeks and its cancer performance sees it ranked 51 out of 131 trusts in England.

Mr Wright said: “I know how hard staff are working, how passionate they are about what they do and the care they provide. We will take to heart the CQC’s findings just as we welcome the extra support that is coming with special measures, to double down on the need to get things right and improve for the people we serve.”

The CQC inspected the Trust in late August and early September. Its report highlights concerns about staffing levels in the Accident and Emergency Department. These concerns have been significantly addressed through the recruitment of nine middle grade doctors, with further permanent appointments to follow alongside specialist A&E nurses. As a result the threat to suspend A&E services overnight at Princess Royal Hospital (PRH) in Telford was lifted last week.

Work is continuing to improve the Trust’s maternity services. Every week for the last 10 weeks, staff have been providing the CQC with additional information so that the safety and effectiveness of the maternity service can be assured for the mothers and babies using it. This same assurance is provided to the two Clinical Commissioning Groups (CCGs) responsible for commissioning the service.

Ben Reid, Chair at SaTH, said the CQC report was in places a difficult read, adding: “We will get this right. There are tremendous successes here but also very real challenges. What the Trust needs now is stability.

“There is a bright future ahead. The Government’s pledge of £312 million to reconfigure services shows not just how much needs to be done in Shropshire and Telford & Wrekin but presents the opportunity to really get things right for the long term.”

Dr Julian Povey, chair of Shropshire Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG), and Dr Jo Leahy, chair of Telford and Wrekin CCG, said: “We have received a copy of the CQC inspection report on Shrewsbury and Telford Hospital NHS Trust (SaTH).

"We welcome the increased support the Trust will receive as a result of special measures status. The report highlights a number of areas of concern and improvements are needed. Clearly the Trust has a lot of work to do, but it is important to also acknowledge the many positive aspects of its work including its good rating for caring and the hard work, energy, and enthusiasm of all the doctors, nurses, and other health professionals and staff delivering a wide range of services to the public.

"We will continue to work as key partners with the Trust in supporting them to improve services so they meet the aspirations of both the public and ourselves.”