BASILDON and Thurrock is one of the quarter of NHS trusts identified as high risk and may not be offering safe, good-quality care to patients, a new report shows.
Analysis by the Care Quality Commission (CQC) regulator found 44 trusts with the most serious level of concern, including higher than expected death rates across their hospitals.
Some trusts were flagged for incidents resulting in harm to patients while others scored low on staff or patient satisfaction.
Several came to attention due to whistleblowing staff while others had a higher than expected death rate among patients who should be low risk.
A total of 161 acute trusts across England were examined by the CQC against more than 150 indicators.
The report will act as a screening tool to identify which trusts need the most rapid CQC inspections and where inspectors need to focus their attention.
All 161 trusts were divided into six bands, with band 1 being the highest risk and band 6 the lowest.
There were 44 trusts in the two bands with the highest risk, with 24 trusts in the highest possible band 1.
They include hospitals already under the spotlight after investigations by NHS medical director Professor Sir Bruce Keogh.
Some of these trusts are already in special measures, including Basildon and Thurrock University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, Buckinghamshire Healthcare NHS Trust, Medway NHS Foundation Trust, North Cumbria University Hospitals NHS Trust and Tameside Hospital NHS Foundation Trust.
At Basildon, there were 14 risks, including seven elevated risks.
These included the number of patient safety incidents that were harmful to patients, higher than expected death rates and potential under-reporting of problems.
The CQC is using the data – called intelligent monitoring – to inform its new inspection regime of all NHS trusts by December 2015.
Following these detailed inspections, trusts will be given Ofsted-style school ratings of “outstanding”, “good”, “requires improvement” and “inadequate”.
The CQC’s chief inspector of hospitals, Professor Sir Mike Richards, said: “As a doctor, I liken intelligent monitoring to a screening test; our inspection combined with intelligent monitoring provides the diagnosis, following which we make a judgment, which will in turn lead to action.
“Our intelligent monitoring helps to give us a good picture of risk within trusts, showing us where we need to focus our inspections.
“We aim to publish the results at regular intervals. They will provide the basis for constant contact with NHS hospitals and other NHS organisations, and may lead to inspections in response to particular issues.”
Dr Jennifer Dixon, chief executive of the Health Foundation and CQC board member, said: “It makes sense to use the wealth of routinely available data in the NHS to try to spot patterns which might identify or predict poor-quality care for patients.
“The intelligent monitoring tool can never by itself be a crystal ball, but it is a great start and will surely develop over time.”