Kingston Hospital told to improve after failing CQC patient care and safety standard (From Surrey Comet)
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Kingston Hospital told to improve after failing CQC patient care and safety standard
Kingston Hospital is not providing “safe and appropriate care” to patients in its medical wards, a surprise inspection has found.
A Care Quality Commission (CQC) report published today said hospital bosses must take action after it failed to meet the key safety standard causing ‘moderate’ impact to patients.
A newborn baby in a corridor, patients left stranded by NHS transport failing to arrive, and sweltering wards in this summer’s heatwave, were highlighted in the report.
The hospital said that the baby was not unattended at any point and maternity wards had not been implicated in the care failures.
The findings are a significant setback coming months after the hospital finally achieved foundation trust status in April, giving it greater independence within the NHS.
Staffing levels were raised repeatedly by staff but not deemed a failure with the hospital saying levels were appropriate.
A spokesman for the CQC, which was criticised earlier this year for not doing enough to pick up on failures at Morecambe Bay Hospital, said: “Over the last few months, CQC has made a number of changes to the way that it inspects hospitals.
“This includes greater use of professional experts and also experts-by-experience, trained members of the public with experience of using services.
“The current inspections – including that of Kingston Hospital – are a robust and credible process, but are focused on specific areas of the hospital where risks have been identified.
“The issues identified at Kingston Hospital were having an impact on patient care – and need to be resolved by the trust.”
The hospital passed the five other key safety standards in safeguarding patients from abuse, supporting workers, complaints, record-keeping, and staffing.
Kingston Hospital will receive another inspection before the end of 2015, as well as another unannounced visit which could be triggered by patient complaints.
Inspectors were concerned to find a new-born baby in an incubator in a corridor because a reclining chair was taking up space in the mother’s room.
Babies at Kingston Hospital are not security tagged, although there is a swipe card entry system to get into maternity.
When staff were told, they appeared unconcerned so a manager was informed, who said it did not happen very often, inspectors reported.
Nursing director Duncan Burton said: “Acting quickly they put the baby in a warmer until they moved the chair out of the room. It was supervised at all times. We certainly looked into it.”
A Kingston Hospital spokesperson added: "During the inspection of our postnatal ward, staff had to act very quickly to warm up a baby whose body temperature had fallen.
"A chair had to moved out of the mother’s room to make space for the specialist cot needed to warm the baby, but to ensure the baby was warmed as quickly as possible, the baby was put straight into the cot outside the room, while the chair was moved.
"At no point was the baby left unattended. Maternity met all the standards during the inspection."
Inspectors also found patients waiting for evening meals and soaring temperatures during this summer’s heatwave.
When they arrived unannounced in mid-July, inspectors noted the temperature in one office had reached 32 degrees.
One visitor brought a fan for a patient because there were not enough on the ward, the report said.
A staff member told inspectors: “There is no air conditioning, freezing in winter, boiling in summer”.
A lack of volunteers in the evenings to give patients their meals meant some waited up to 25 minutes for help with eating, the report added.
In addition, water jugs and glasses were out of patients’ reach on one ward.
Hospital chief executive Kate Grimes said the trust was on the hunt for more volunteers. She said: “One of the things we want to do and need to do is expand what we do at lunchtime into the evenings.”
Although inspectors said staffing was satisfactory at the hospital, they reported workers’ concerns over staffing levels.
Their comments included:
- “I would not want my relatives here”.
- “I felt like crying, we are losing good nurses because of work pressures”.
- “There are not enough staff on the wards during the evening and at night”.
- “On some wards there have been no team assistants”.
- “Only three nurses on here at night”.
- “It’s too much for the nurses”.
- “We need more staff”.
Ms Grimes said: “We showed them all our rotas and they found us compliant.
“We have invested in the last two years in staffing on the wards.
“We have had a lot of new staff come in over the last six months or so. We have got some work to do to get those staff, and particularly the leadership, working well on our wards.”
Nursing director Duncan Burton said: “A lot of patients will be asleep overnight and so there will be less intervention than during the day.
“We review our staffing levels as part of an annual process. We know we are better than many hospitals.”
Accident and emergency staff levels were adequate, senior nurses told inspectors.
The hospital is aiming to find savings of £10.8m this financial year.
To read the report click here.
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