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Acute trust rapped over ongoing safeguarding failings

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A hospital trust on Tyneside has been warned that it must take action to improve its child safeguarding arrangements.

South Tyneside NHS Foundation Trust has been told to take action by the Care Quality Commission following a focused inspection of safeguarding children.

“I am disappointed that we saw little improvement in this area”

Mike Richards

The trust has been told to make further improvements to protect children and young people who may be at risk of harm, following an earlier wide-changing check on its services by the regulator last year.

In a report published in December, the CQC rated the trust as “requires improvement”. The latest unannounced inspection, on 27-28 July this year, looked specifically at the process for safeguarding children and young people at South Tyneside District Hospital.

Although staff understood their responsibilities for safeguarding children and young people, the CQC said the trust’s systems did not support staff to identify and protect those at risk.

The CQC’s new report, published today, identified a number of areas for improvement. It said the trust must review the culture in the paediatric department and ensure that staff accountability, roles and responsibilities for safeguarding children are clear.

Formal supervision processes for safeguarding children must also be put in place in maternity, paediatrics and the emergency department, it said.

In addition, training data must be accurate so that the trust is able to monitor by staff group those that have completed their safeguarding training.

It must also ensure processes are in place for reviewing those under 18 attending South Tyneside District Hospital to ensure all vulnerabilities and safeguarding risks are identified.

Professor Sir Mike Richards, the CQC’s chief inspector of hospitals, said South Tyneside must address the areas of concern to “ensure that children and young people aren’t put at risk”.

Sir Mike Richards

Sir Mike Richards

Sir Mike Richards

He noted that the previous inspection had found staff were “universally committed to delivering compassionate person-centred care” and the trust was given an “outstanding” rating for caring services.

“However we were worried about the trust’s ability to safeguard children and young people following a joint targeted area inspection earlier this year, which is why we returned for this focused inspection,” he said.

“I am disappointed that we saw little improvement in this area and have told the trust they have work to do,” said Sir Mike.

“Although staff understood their responsibilities for safeguarding children and young people, there were no effective systems or processes in place to support them in identifying and protecting those that might be at risk,” he said.

“We found limitations within the patient recording system in the emergency department, which meant there was a lack of information available to staff, and there was limited oversight of safeguarding at management level,” he added.

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