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CQC brands safety levels at Mid Yorkshire Hospitals as 'inadequate'


“Significant concerns” about nursing shortages have been identified at Mid Yorkshire Hospitals NHS Trust by the Care Quality Commission, which judged the safety of services as “inadequate”.

The regulator had “serious concerns” during its inspections in July about staffing levels on a 46-bed acute respiratory care ward at Pinderfields Hospital.

“There is no doubt they have a considerable challenge and we need to see that the trust has taken our findings seriously and that they will make the necessary changes at pace”

Mike Richards

The trust subsequently closed six beds, ensuring there was one nurse for every eight patients. But duty rotas for August, later given to the CQC, revealed beds that had previously been closed had been reopened and “the majority of the shifts did not meet nurse to patient ratios, particularly on night shifts.”

On some occasions there was a ratio of one nurse to 22 patients, said the CQC said in its report on the trust.

Following this, the trust’s director of nursing confirmed that beds had been re-closed, said the report.

The regulator added that the NHS Trust Development Authority had now taken over monitoring staffing levels and patient safety on the ward.

The CQC noted that patient safety concerns had been raised about the same ward over many months leading up to its inspections.

Evidence to support an allegation of neglect had been identified by the local authority’s safeguarding board in December, and increasing concerns of patient harm on the ward had led to a review by the trust’s senior nursing team in May, said the CQC.

Mid Yorkshire Hospitals NHS Trust

Pinderfields Hospital

“Despite this, at the time of our inspection significant concerns remained,” said the CQC. “This meant the trust had not taken appropriate and sufficient actions to mitigate the risks to patient harm since they first became aware of concerns seven months previously.”

Other findings from the inspection at the trust – which included Dewsbury and District Hospital and Pontefract Hospital – showed that staff morale was generally low across acute services due to shortages of staff and their movement between areas.

The CQC noted that the trust had been on the verge of administration up to two years earlier with a large underlying financial deficit, which had a significant impact on the provision of services.

In spite of this, staff working in acute services were “compassionate and treated people with dignity and respect”, said the report.

Meanwhile, outstanding practice was found in some of the trust’s community services, including a newly-created multidisciplinary community health and care services team for adults with complex needs.

The CQC also praised the trust’s health visiting teams that had creates a liaison role to work closely with GP practices around safeguarding and to share good practice.

Sir Mike Richards

Sir Mike Richards

CQC’s chief inspector of hospitals, professor Sir Mike Richards, said that while patients were treated in a sensitive way, he was “very concerned” about staff shortages impacting on the safety and quality of care.

“While the trust has put systems and processes for improvement in place there is no doubt they have a considerable challenge and we need to see that the trust has taken our findings seriously and that they will make the necessary changes at pace,” he said.

Stephen Eames, chief executive of the trust, said: “Our patients have given our staff high praise for the care they receive and I am truly proud of the way they have represented us.

Mid Yorkshire Hospitals NHS Trust

Stephen Eames

“However, the report highlights a number of issues and concerns, including the potential of risk to patient safety in some of our services, which the board and I are taking very seriously,” he said.

“We started taking action to address safe staffing levels in February this year and we have invested £1.2m in recruiting more qualified nurses across the trust,” he said. “Around 100 nurses have started working here since the CQC inspected us in July.”


Readers' comments (22)

  • Another example of a "trust director of nursing" not caring about the welfare, well-being or safety of patients or staff.

    One nurse to 22 patients........... DISGRACEFUL!

    This "trust director of nursing" is not fit to practice and should referred to the NMC for investigation and hopefully removal from the professional register.

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  • Absolutely and someone needs to do it (anyone can do it) now.

    I have done it for a Director of Nursing in a health organisation in which I don't work, don't receive care from and is 60 miles away from me. However, I know the organisation and some serious reports - external and police already indicate serious corporate and bedside nurse failure but I know that the CEO won't refer this nurse as they have already been seconded somewhere else.

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  • This lack of concern for nurses working conditions frontline is endemic within the NHS ! Where are the unions ? Sitting on committees being ineffective with the true issues. How many more stories do we have to read before there is any honest change within the NHS. Clearly, Mid-Staffs has not deterred these boards behaving in a reckless and in-different manner to staff & patient safety. Bring in statute that truly holds these individuals to account, rather than the platitudes that are given when they are caught.

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  • Laha78

    This kind of report can only highlight the fear a lot of nurses still have over whistleblowing and bullying in the workplace must still be happening!!
    A ratio of those numbers should NEVER happen and the pressure that particular nurse must have been under would have been immense!!
    Some managers, and I mean higher up than ward managers, should be absolutely ashamed of themselves!!!!!

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  • milton pena

    This is a further example of a NHS trust that is allowed to do nothing outside the law but obviously unsafe for the patients and tremendously stressful and demoralising for the staff. The solution is to press for legislation on minimal nurse and midwife patients levels. I started a e-petition in 2010 but got no where. Others have had the same result. I noted that NICE misleadingly stated that there is no scientific evidence that improve nurse ratios saves lives.

    Milton Pena

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  • the fact that people, nurses or layman, manager or bedside nurse cannot seem to understand is that we have a gross shortage of nurses! Simples! The question we have to ask is WHY do we have a shortage of nurses and no offence to the HCAs but I mean Registered Nurses with appropriate experience. Is it the training? is it the funding? Is it the financial state of the NHS as a whole? Is it due to top managers not understanding what a nurse does and therefore does nothing active about balancing the books! All of these questions need addressing. Recently I was at a conference where Professor Lucy Pratt said she couldn't understand why so many nurses left the profession! Open your eyes Lucy! and your ears! Another thought nurses, perhaps there are too many Lucy Pratts sitting in there ivory towers not actually doing anything effective for either patients or nurses. Perhaps it's time all of the higher archy started to earn their salaries and stop creating more layers and tiers to hide their own inadequacies and failures. It shouldn't be about closing wards/beds and making the patient treatment available fit the number of nurses available. We should have nurses trained with transferable skills that can take them from one department to another as needs require instead of as so many nurses today are from the outset, stuck in their speciality.

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  • Our local trust runs on one qualified to 19 patients by night totally impossible to give good care. Stressful for everyone.

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  • There is simply little or no respect for bedside nursing in the general medical/surgical ward...unless you are a specialist nurse you are a basic workhouse beast of burden ,a number on the roster who is expected to put up and shut object of scorn.If you speak up your a moaner,if you don"t speak up and something goes wrong its "you should have flagged this"...why would any young person be encouraged into such a job...better to be a HCA no writing and can hand over all problems to the registered dogsbody

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  • I don't know why this isn't dealt with more seriously - trusts get fined for not achieving certain goals ..... money talks . In my hospital ward nurses have ratios of 1 nurse to 13 patients for years and nothing has changed ! Shame on the government and shame on CQC for not doing more about it and SHAME on trust management for not providing adequate, safe care for patients and not burning out their valuable ward nurses. I would not work on a ward and I am amazed that anyone does .

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  • Oh and by the way have you noticed how nearly everyone's comments are anonymous ...... Could it be that even though officially policy states one should be open and whistle blow; we all know that they cannot take any honest criticism and would say we are showing the trust in a bad light and bringing the trust into disrepute and we would be the ones in a disciplinary hearing !

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