Senior doctors drafted in from another hospital have until Christmas to outline how they will improve services at Epsom and St Helier after watchdog inspectors found evidence of “inappropriate behaviour” and other failings in critical care.

RELATED: Watchdog exposes inappropriate behaviour at Epsom and St Helier hospitals

Staff from St George’s Hospital in Tooting will write the report after a Care Quality Commission inspection revealed the shortcomings.

Epsom and St Helier joint medical director James Marsh said the consultants will help his staff stick to national care guidelines, but that he did not know how long it would take to turn the ship around.

He told bosses at a board meeting: “It is open ended at the moment. The first phase of this is diagnostic and the second phase is implementing changes in practice.

“It will be a few months before we really understand how much support we need from St George’s.

“We need to explore where we have clinical variances, we need to explore our governance and we need to explore our operations.

“There are already signs of improvements in interdepartmental teamwork. This is a very good early sign but we need to make sure we are following through on guidance from the senior team.”

CQC inspectors visited the hospitals last week and reported a number of concerns about the way the critical care unit was being run, including a lack of leadership from senior staff.

Trust chief executive Daniel Elkeles said: “Like many large hospital trusts, the inspection team have highlighted some areas that could be improved and asked us to provide immediate assurance around some aspects of our critical care services.

“As you would expect, this is something that we responded to very quickly and have taken clear steps to ensure that any possible issues were resolved promptly.

“I am pleased to say that the CQC have confirmed that they are assured we have responded appropriately and taken robust action.”

The ongoing cost of recruiting help from St George’s is not yet known.

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