NHS trust faces probe into high death rate and blood-spattered equipment Source: Link Action will be taken against an NHS trust after inspectors found blood-splattered equipment and an unusually high death rate among patients. Inspectors for the Care Quality Commission (CQC) published a report earlier this month raising concerns about Basildon and Thurrock University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust. Now, the CQC has asked the regulator of foundation trusts, Monitor, to investigate. It has told Monitor it has lost confidence in the ability of the trust's management to steer through changes. Inspectors from the CQC found blood stains on floors and curtains, blood splattered on trays used to carry equipment and badly soiled mattresses with stains soaked through in the A&E department. They also found equipment being used repeatedly that should only be used once and resuscitation room equipment that was past its use-by date. Other items found at the trust included blood pressure cuffs stained with blood, suction machines contaminated with fluid inside and out and apparent mould. The trust's death rate in 2008 for all emergency admissions was 6.1 per cent, above the national average of 4.4 per cent. The CQC report said: 'In the accident and emergency department we found dust on high and low surfaces, including curtain rails, vents and floors. 'We saw floors that were stained with blood and other fluid spillages and black dirt had accumulated in the corners of the bay areas. 'We found the fabric of the building to be poor in places, including exposed plaster on the walls, and damage to doors and the corners of walls. 'We saw holes in a chair, a footstool and a mattress. 'Six out of 12 privacy curtains we checked were soiled, some with blood spatter. 'There was no clear system for replacing curtains; some were dated beyond the date of replacement and others had no date.' The report went on to describe poor conditions in other areas: 'Six procedure trays used by staff to carry equipment when they take blood samples or give injections had blood spatter on them, a commode was soiled under the seat, and several blood pressure cuffs were stained. 'In the accident and emergency department we saw a trolley mattress with a hole in the cover; we asked the nurses to check the mattress and it was found to be badly soiled and to have a foul odour. 'In all, 12 mattresses were checked by trust staff and 11 were stained through to the foam. 'We saw tubing that is for single-use only that was still attached to a ventilator after use. 'We saw other single-use items that were out of date in the accident and emergency store, including two endotracheal tubes with a use-by date of June 2005. 'In the clean stores we found a blood spattered procedure tray. We saw four blood pressure machines, all were dusty. 'Three blood pressure cuffs were stained, including a children's blood pressure cuff that was very heavily stained with blood.' In March, the CQC's predecessor, the Healthcare Commission, found appalling standards of care at another hospital trust. The 'shocking' state of affairs at Mid Staffordshire NHS Foundation Trust meant patients admitted as emergencies suffered due to serious lapses in care. Between 400 and 1,200 more people died than would have been expected in a three-year period while families described 'Third World' conditions at the trust. The Commission launched an inquiry after concerns were raised about higher than normal death rates in emergency care, in particular at Stafford Hospital. Some patients were left in pain or needing the toilet, sat in soiled bedding for several hours at a time and were not given their regular medication. Shadow health secretary Andrew Lansley said he was 'extremely disturbed' by the findings. 'It is unforgivable if any lives have been needlessly lost. 'When the appalling standards of care at Stafford Hospital were revealed we were assured by Labour ministers that it was 'an isolated case'; that sort of complacency is simply not good enough. 'We need to know what happened after the Government found out about the tragedy at Stafford Hospital.' The Basildon and Thurrock trust has two hospitals providing care for around 300,000 people in south west Essex. Most of the inpatient care at the trust is provided at Basildon University Hospital, which has 777 beds, while outpatient care is at Orsett hospital. The trust has foundation trust status, which is a supposed marker of excellence, and means it has greater freedom to manage its finances. It achieved foundation status in April 2004 and was one of the first foundation trusts in the country. The CQC issued a warning notice on October 20, with the deadline running out on Monday.