BOSSES say the Royal Bournemouth Hospital is a safe place to be treated as a major investigation gets underway.

Around 30 inspectors are currently carrying out a comprehensive review of every department at the hospital as well as talking to staff, managers and patients.

The Royal Bournemouth and Christchurch Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust is one of the first to face a new-style inspection by the Care Quality Commission, launched in the wake of the Mid Staffordshire scandal last year, after being identified as “high risk” in July.

Now more comprehensive data has been made available by the regulator which confirms the trust has been given a category one rating – the most at risk category.

The inspection is expected to last two days and will be followed by an unannounced visit within the next few weeks.

The six areas flagged up as “elevated risk” are cardiac conditions and procedures, stroke, mental health, kidney, neurological and respiratory.

Other areas of concern include the proportion of patient safety incidents, vascular conditions and poor education provision.

A spokesperson for the CQC said: “These are areas where there are a higher number of deaths than we would expect but there could be reasons for this – it is not a judgement – it is one of the indicators we use when it comes to prioritising our list of hospital inspections.”

Mr Basil Fozard, surgeon and medical director, said most of the areas of concern had now been addressed but in some cases they had found no problem with the service provision.

He said: “Our patients should be reassured we are a very safe hospital trust with many outstanding services.

“We are continually investing and improving the care we provide. Recent investments include additional doctors in our Emergency Department and other acute areas, a new ward based electronic alert system for acutely ill patients and an electronic mortality review process.

“We are always striving to provide an even better experience for our patients so the inspection is an opportunity to work with the CQC and to learn and improve even further.”

Poole Hospital NHS Foundation Trust received a category five rating.

  • A total of 44 of the 161 trusts in the UK fell into the highest risk categories.

Inspectors will visit every trust by 2015.

The new indicators, from one to six, are based on whether the hospital is safe, effective, caring, responsive and well-led.

It is part of intelligent monitoring which, together with local information from partners and the public, helps the regulator decide when, where and what to inspect.