THE chief executive of Royal Cornwall Hospitals NHS Trust, Kathy Byrne, has apologised and said the trust is responding swiftly and effectively to every one of the Care Quality Commission's recommendations after the trust was rated inadequate.

Mrs Byrne said in a statement: “Good, safe care is the number one priority for Royal Cornwall Hospitals NHS Trust and we are responding swiftly and effectively to every one of the CQC recommendations.

“We take the CQC report very seriously and I want to apologise to any patient who has waited too long for treatment or not received the very best care.

“We have now established a stable senior leadership team and we want good clinical leadership to be at the heart of our quality improvement programme.

“Everyone who works in our hospitals is committed to making the changes our local community and regulators want to see.”

“We thank patients for their continued support for our caring and dedicated staff, which has been rightly recognised by the CQC.”

The CQC rated the trust as inadequate overall and that found some patients had likely died of cardiac arrest while on a waiting list and some opthalmic patients had gone blind because of inadequate care.

Women in the maternity unit were also put at risk because of unsafe practices.

The inspection was carried out in July following two previous visits when the trust was told it needed improvement.

The CQC has also outlined problems with the wider health and social care system in Cornwall.

It said too many patients were stuck in hospital waiting for the support they needed to live at home, or be placed in residential care, and managers had lost sight of the needs of people using services.

Its review calls for "urgent and significant change to improve" to ensure people move through the system more effectively.

NHS England said it was considering transferring the management of the county's Clinical Commissioning Group to the council. A director of adult social services and health integration could also be appointed.

Responding to this report Kathy Byrne, RCHT Chief Executive said:

“The Care Quality Commission review of the wider health and social care system in Cornwall echoes the message that our local leaders have been giving through the Shaping Our Future programme.

“We fully recognise that the current health and social care system needs reform and we have been working hard to find ways to provide a more integrated service between health and social care, between providers and with the voluntary sector. We must find the way to put more resources into preventing ill health and caring for people in their homes or communities, avoiding the need for admission to hospital wherever possible.

“Preparing for this winter, we are working together more closely than ever before, making changes and investment to improve the care we provide. We are united in our view that we need to go further and faster to bring our health and care system closer together with the citizen at the centre. By April 2018, we plan to jointly establish an Accountable Care System that brings services together in a way that can make a real difference to people’s care and more reliably meets the changing needs of our community over the years to come.”