An east London hospital trust has been told by regulators it still needs to do more to implement systems to assess pressure damage and employ sufficient staff to meet the needs of patients.
The Care Quality Commission said yesterday four of eight conditions imposed on Barking, Havering and Redbridge University Hospitals Trust had been removed following improvements at its King George Hospital and Queen’s Hospital.
The trust was registered in April this year on the condition that improvements were made across five essential areas of quality and safety: care and welfare of people who use services; cooperating with other providers; safety and suitability of equipment; staffing; and supporting workers.
In particular, the regulator called for action on reducing pressure sores and employing more nurses, as well as ensuring better training on resuscitation and child protection for nursing and midwifery staff.
The condition relating to equipment – to ensure patients were not admitted into beds in treatment rooms, the clinical diagnostic area and the theatres recovery area – was removed in an earlier review carried out by CQC while three more conditions were removed in the latest review.
However, the deadline for meeting improvements in the care and welfare of patients has been extended till 31 December in order to give the trust more time to embed pressure sore documentation.
Additionally, the condition relating to staffing has been partially lifted, after a £2.5m fund made to the trust had resulted in a recruitment drive which increased nursing levels and reduced the vacancy rate to 8.4 per cent from 15 per cent.
CQC regional director for London Colin Hough acknowledged the positive changes made by the trust to address the numerous breaches identified at the time of registration.
He said: “We are encouraged by the progress made by the trust and recognise the trust has worked very hard to reduce the vacancy rate for nursing staff and has also provided mandatory and child protection training for the majority of nursing and midwifery staff.
Mr Hough also expressed concern that patient’s pressure sore management plans were not properly completed at both hospitals.
He said: “The trust has introduced some new initiatives enabling staff to be more focused on patient care. Inspectors noted that patients were generally happy with the care received at both hospitals.
“However, we are concerned that pressure sore documentation is not fully in place, therefore, we have decided to extend the condition until the trust has embedded measures to ensure that staff are rigorous in completing pressure sore management plans. This will ensure that all patients will experience effective and safe treatment.”
Trust chief executive John Goulston said: “The work of our ‘visible leadership’ audits by the matrons across every patient area each week and the new patient safety walkrounds by executive directors show our commitment to continuous improvement.
“Already we are seeing the results of improvements in care, with the number of patients developing pressure sores being halved this year on our elderly care units. We are introducing new systems and documentation to help nurses spot the early signs and manage the risk to patients.
“We are confident that we will make further progress on pressure sores and other areas in the weeks ahead.”