Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt said the trusts, among 14 investigated for high death rates, had problems so entrenched that tough action was needed. He cited examples of staffing problems, poor care and weak leadership as he announced the move in Parliament. The other three trusts investigated were also told to make improvements following the review.
But the health secretary said investigators had confidence the leadership at those trusts was capable of making the changes needed. As part of the process of special measures for the other 11, teams of external experts will be sent into the organisations to work with the senior management team.
Regular updates on their progress will also be given.
Mr Hunt said, “We have taken swift and tough action to make sure these hospitals are given all necessary support to improve. We owe it to the three million people who use the NHS every week to tackle and confront mediocrity and inadequate leadership head on.”
The investigation into the 14 trusts was launched earlier this year following the public inquiry into the Stafford Hospital scandal, which said the public had been betrayed by a system that put “corporate self-interest” ahead of patients.
The trusts were identified as they had the highest death rates in 2010-11 and 2011-12.
The probe has been led by NHS England’s medical director Prof Sir Bruce Keogh and focused on whether the figures indicated sustained failings in the quality of care and treatment at the trusts.
Sir Bruce said, “Not one of these trusts has been given a clean bill of health by my review teams. These reviews have been highly rigorous and uncovered previously undisclosed problems.
“I felt it was crucial to provide a clear diagnosis, to write the prescription, and, most importantly, to identify what help these organisations might need to support their recovery or accelerate improvement. Mediocrity is simply not good enough and, based on the findings from this review I have set out an achievable ambition which will help these hospitals improve dramatically over the next two years.”
The 11 trusts in special measures are: North Cumbria University Hospitals NHS Trust, Northern Lincolnshire and Goole Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, Tameside Hospital NHS Foundation Trust, United Lincolnshire Hospitals NHS Trust, Basildon and Thurrock University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, Burton Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, East Lancashire Hospitals NHS Trust, George Eliot Hospital NHS Trust, Sherwood Forest Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, Buckinghamshire Healthcare NHS Trust, Medway NHS Foundation Trust.