A Norfolk hospital has announced measures to improve nurse staffing levels after a critical report from regulators.
The Care Quality Commission carried out an unannounced inspection of The Queen Elizabeth Hospital King’s Lynn NHS Foundation Trust in May.
The regulator’s report, published on 13 August, concluded that “care was not always effective”.
The CQC inspectors stated: “One patient said, ‘The staff are kindness itself and most of them really want to do the right thing.’ However, many of them told us the wards were short staffed and care was often delayed.
“Although some actions had been taken by the trust to address the issue they had not had sufficient impact,” they noted.
The CQC also said the trust did not adequately promote the welfare of patients who lacked capacity and it did not have effective systems in place to monitor and improve the quality of services.
The trust did not always work effectively with other providers to manage the flow of patients into and out of the hospital, resulting in a poor experience for the patient, and care records were not always “complete, accurate or accessible”, the report added.
In response the trust set out a number of actions it was taking to address the concerns highlighted by the CQC.
These included the implementation of a “recruitment plan” to be rolled out throughout rest of this year. It contains measures to support short-term staffing, together with longer-term moves to develop a local recruitment base by working with education providers.
Meanwhile, the trust said 40 registered nurses had joined in June and July. A further 40 are currently being recruited and there will additional newly-qualified nurses joining in September, it said.
The trust added that it was agreeing a clinically-led assessment of staffing requirements for each ward with staff and approving additional investment for the accident and emergency department.
It was also recruiting to agreed staff skill mix ratios, which will increase staff numbers on the ward to allow for staff to be released for training.
However, the trust received more bad news this week, when the foundation trust regulator Monitor opted to take further action against it.
Monitor said the trust had failed to meet the national A&E waiting time target for three consecutive quarters and its financial position had continued to deteriorate.
These “concerns were compounded by the recent CQC report”, Monitor said.
Monitor’s regional director Mark Turner said: “We are concerned about the issues identified by the CQC report and expect the trust to take steps to rectify these problems and make sure it delivers appropriate care for its patients.”
The regulator said it had now received assurance from the trust that it would “fix the failings identified by the CQC, implement an A&E recovery plan, and bring in external support to find a long term solution to its problems”.
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