Bedford Hospital NHS Trust has been told it “requires improvement” following an inspection that uncovered problems including inadequate staffing levels.
The Care Quality Commission found nurse staffing arrangements on the paediatric unit were “not sufficient to meet demand”, noting not enough were trained to comply with guidance from the Royal College of Nursing on advanced paediatric life support.
“The root cause analysis in relation to serious incidents did not always demonstrate analysis or learning”
In addition, it found the trust had an average nurse vacancy rate of 9% and that its inability to recruit and retain posts had led to high temporary staffing spend.
However, the trust did meet its 95% target for nurse shift fill rates, with an average of 96.5% between April and November 2015.
In its report on the organisation, the CQC said it was also “not assured that the trust demonstrated a sufficient depth of analysis or learning of incidents”.
The report told the trust it must improve its incident reporting process to ensure all are recorded, including those associated with staffing levels.
The regulator also said it was not assured serious incidents were being effectively managed in maternity services. In its report, the CQC noted the trust had since commissioned an external review of these services.
“I am committed to implement improvements as highlighted by the CQC”
Patient records were also not always accurately completed, including ”do not attempt cardio-pulmonary resuscitation” forms, it said.
It called for the trust to take action in a number of areas including improving incident reporting, ensuring there are sufficient numbers of staff trained to give life support to paediatric patients and increasing shared learning from incidents and complaints.
However, it did rate the trust as being “good” for caring and CQC inspectors noted multi-disciplinary teams working well in most services.
CQC chief inspector of hospitals, Mike Richards, said: “Our inspectors found that some improvements were needed at Bedford Hospital NHS Trust.
“We were not assured that serious incidents were effectively managed in the maternity unit. The root cause analysis in relation to serious incidents did not always demonstrate analysis or learning,” he said.
He added: “There was recognition that the trust needed to make changes in response to our concerns that some service models required reviewing. For example, the trust must ensure there are appropriate numbers of qualified paediatric staff in the emergency department and paediatric unit to meet national standards.”
Stephen Conroy, chief executive of Bedford Hospital NHS Trust, said he welcomed the report because it recognised the improvements it staff had made in recent years.
“We deliver excellent care and treatment to all our patients and their families in their time of need and I am committed to implement improvements as highlighted by the CQC,” he said.