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Hospital inspector warns Northampton over staff training

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The Care Quality Commission has raised concerns about staff development at Northampton General Hospital Trust.

Less than a third of staff had an up to date performance development plan (PDP) in place in January, and there was no evidence that actions were in place to address the problem. In addition, the trust had no effective risk management system for patients moved between wards at night.

A report by CQC chief inspector of hospitals Professor Sir Mike Richards uncovered many concerns and grounds for improvement at the trust’s Northampton General Hospital.

As well as the concerns around PDPs, the inspection revealed worries about the lack of mandatory training being completed, which could potentially affect the care delivery. The inspection team was particularly concerned with the hospital’s assessment and monitoring systems.

The CQC inspection found evidence of good care and good practice, but revealed that improvements were required throughout many departments.

It found that Northampton General Hospital had no effective system to recognise, assess and oversee the risks to the health and welfare of patients who switch wards at night. Some of them can be transferred as late as 3am.

The trust was also told to “review and act” on how children were treated in accident and emergency, as dedicated staff and facilities were limited, the regulator said.

However, the CQC found the trust was doing well on other factors linked to the care provided by nurses. Staff were caring and compassionate in each of the service areas visited. Patients and their relatives spoke “very highly of the caring nature of staff”.

In addition, the trust was “very clean throughout” and performed well in relation to infection prevention and control, according to the CQC.

Professor Richards said: “While some services were delivered effectively at the trust, the issues at the A&E department, poor management, staff training, and equipment maintenance must be improved.”

Sir Mike Richards

Sir Mike Richards

He stressed that it is “essential” that employees are being adequately supported and developed in their roles. But he also highlighted that his team found “caring and compassionate staff in each of the service areas”.

The report is available on CQC’s website from 27 March.

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