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Worcestershire Acute Hospitals NHS Trust

Regulator takes ‘urgent action’ against Worcester acute trust


The Care Quality Commission has taken “urgent action” against Worcestershire Acute NHS Hospitals Trust following an unannounced inspection of its accident and emergency services.

The regulator has imposed a condition on the trust’s registration and issued it with three warning notices following an inspection of the A&E units at Worcestershire Royal and Alexandra hospitals on 24 March.

The trust’s urgent and emergency services have been beset by troubles in recent months.

Earlier this year it was hit by the resignation of five A&E consultants who accused managers of undermining services at Alexandra Hospital, though this was challenged by trust’s medical directors.

It also appeared in the national media last month after a “disaster doctor” was drafted in to help relieve A&E pressures at Worcestershire Royal.

The CQC is yet to publish its inspection report, but a spokeswoman told Nursing Times’ sister title Health Service Journal that it had warned the trust to “take action with regard to staffing, the safety and suitability of equipment and the safety of the premises”.

She said the CQC had taken “urgent action” to impose a condition on the trust to ensure “the right number of appropriately qualified and skilled staff were always on duty at Worcestershire Royal and… effective systems [were] in place for properly assessing patients on their arrival in the department”.

She added that the regulator would “continue to monitor the situation at the trust closely”.

In a statement, the trust said it had “made a number of immediate changes and identified plans to ensure all the CQC’s recommendations are carried out”.

It had put in place measures including increasing the number of assessment cubicles, allocating dedicated space for triage and appointing extra non-clinical staff to support its clinical teams, said the trust.

In addition to the concerns raised by the CQC, a recent report by Worcestershire Health and Wellbeing Board revealed that the trust was the focus of a risk summit in March chaired by NHS England and the NHS Trust Development Authority.

The summit discussed concerns about the mortality rate in emergency surgery at Alexandra Hospital.

It flagged worries about the “counting and reporting of delayed transfers of care”, which it said “did not have the support of partners” and resulted in data being reported that “has not been recognised by other organisations”.


Readers' comments (3)

  • michael stone

    The CQC does seem to be making its inspections more useful: less 'warning', a less 'tick-box' inspection methodology, etc.

    While it is clearly distressing for any staff whose organisation is criticised by the CQC, the CQC must be seen to be 'making a difference to quality, by highlighting poor care' if the public is to take it seriously (and, indeed, if its inspections are to result in improved standards in the NHS).

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  • Sometimes. But not in the Greater Manchester area. Improved standards in care homes there long long overdue.

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  • The NHS is short of nurses.

    Trusts are forced to employ agency nurses at huge cost. This is financially wasteful and de moralising to regular and bank staff who do the same if not more work for less money.

    This does need addressing urgently. Aggressively streamline the ridiculous amount of unnecessary paperwork to free up nurse time. So what if someone hasn't got a detailed care plan about elimination? Just because a box is ticked it doesn't mean to say the action actually took place.

    Pay nurses more money so they wont be tempted to join an agency and make them really feel valued rather than the pretence that is currently doing the rounds in some trusts.

    This may even allow senior ward managers to oversee what is happening with their staff on a ward, to encourage excellent behaviour and rectify that which is poor. Far better than sitting a computer all day ensuring all the boxes are ticked for senior management. May even allow a reduction in their numbers!!

    Maybe not the place for the above but it needs saying and acting upon.

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