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Trust rated 'inadequate' after damning A&E inspection


A south coast hospital trust has been given an inadequate rating, after unannounced inspections found serious performance problems.

Care Quality Comission inspectors visiting Portsmouth Hospitals NHS Trust in February and March found patients waiting on trolleys in corridors, frequent moving of patients at the night and patients being treated in a parked “jumbulance” – a super sized ambulance.

“CQC staff had to intervene to keep patients safe on several occasions”

Mike Richards

The inspectors found “regular, significant and substantial overcrowding” in the emergency department at Queen Alexandra Hospital and identified patients with stroke, chest pain and sepsis who “had not been triaged, treated and assessed in a timely manner”.

In the CQC’s report, which is published today, the trust has been rated “inadequate” for urgent and emergency services and “requires improvement” for medical care.

In his report summary, chief hospital inspector Sir Mike Richards said: “During our inspection, CQC staff had to intervene to keep patients safe on several occasions, including asking staff to assess patients in the ambulance and the corridor, and to prevent a patient from leaving the department when there was not a member of staff present.”

The CQC said the problems at Portsmouth had a knock-on effect at other organisations in the region, with Southampton General Hospital and Solent Community Trust accepting diverted patients.

The delays in ambulance handovers led to significant problems for the local ambulance trust, which resulted in two serious incidents where response times for life threatening conditions were not met.

The trust has one of the worst accident and emergency waiting times performances in the country and inspectors said they were not confident the correct number of trolley waits for patients was being recorded.

Sir Mike Richards

Sir Mike Richards

Sir Mike Richards

Inspectors praised the “exceptional resilience” of staff but said they suffered from “change fatigue” because of repeated incomplete initiatives from management.

Sir Mike said that “staff had now accepted a standard of care that was unacceptable” and “some of the executive team were identified as barriers to the leadership of effective change”.

The CQC placed four conditions on the trust’s registration. The trust has created the role of executive director of emergency care and now sends the CQC daily information on A&E.

Portsmouth’s chief executive of 12 years, Ursula Ward, stood down last month.

Interim chief executive Tim Powell said: “We recognise the picture painted by the CQC in this report and we are very sorry that we have failed to provide to our patients, on a consistent basis, the high standards of care that we expect of ourselves. 

Portsmouth Hospitals NHS Trust

Trust rated ‘inadequate’ after damning A&E inspection

Tim Powell

“It will take time to make all of the necessary improvements but we are determined to ensure that by the time of maximum demand in our emergency department, next winter, our service will be better,” he said.

“We have changed the way in which some patients are admitted to the acute medical unit, redirecting those patients who do not need the clinical skills of the emergency department team to other pathways and promoting the fact that GPs can refer urgent patients directly to ambulatory services and our outpatient clinic,” he added.


Readers' comments (4)

  • unfortunately we will see more and more often news like this one. Mr Hunt is on a path to compromise the NHS and the famous 7Day care is set to be a dizaster for patients and staff. Underpaid, demoralized and low in numbers staff alongside overpaid, ignorant army of managers are the base of this problems together with the lack of vision and clarity of the NHS heads. The only good in this news is that CQC is still doing the job properly.

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  • Just rated inadequate well CQC should say Jeremy Hunt rated inadequate for failure to provide sufficient finance and stop the NHS cuts

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  • Marcus Lynch

    No I dont think anyone except the hospital rated inadequate can be blamed. Lack of finance doesnt excuse poor care and practice. The NHS needs to adapt and people need to start at least partially paying for their hospital stays. Thats outside of government tax.

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  • Marcus you are obviously nieve and have a disgraceful view. You I fear are a generation that have not known that the NHS can be free and must continue that way. You clearly have been injected with corporate nonsense. American hospitals are awful look at VM with it strikes and issues. In short I'm prepared and preparing to fight toxic corporate managers.and ceos tooth and nail to the very end, even if you do not.

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