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Portsmouth boosts nurse staffing after inspection but 'must improve further'

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Urgent improvements have been made at Portsmouth’s Queen Alexandra Hospital, resulting in increased nurse staffing levels, but the regulator said the trust still has more work to do.

The Care Quality Commission issued two warning notices to Portsmouth Hospitals Trust following an inspection in February.

It called for immediate improvements in its emergency department after it found patients who arrived by ambulance were at risk of unsafe care and treatment.

Inspectors noted patients were sometimes seen according to time of arrival rather than clinical need and that in certain cases patients with serious conditions waited over an hour to be clinically assessed.

“The nurse was organising activity to avoid the disorder that we observed during the previous inspection”

CQC follow-up report on Queen Alexandra Hospital

They also saw a healthcare assistant being used to triage patients and that many people were waiting in corridors and temporary bay areas.

From its follow-up inspection in April, the CQC said the trust had met the requirements it called for in its warning notices.

It found patients arriving by ambulance were being assessed within 15 minutes by a nurse and being monitored.

“The nurse was organising activity to avoid the disorder that we observed during the previous inspection. We did not, for example, observe any collisions between patient trolleys that had happened previously,” said the CQC in its report.

Nurse and medical staffing levels had also been improved to take account of the increase in the number of patients, and the need for skilled and experienced staff to be present in the department overnight.

“Portsmouth Hospitals Trust has worked to address our most serious concerns…[but] some patients are still having to wait too long to be admitted”

Mike Richards

But the report noted: “Patients in corridors were being observed and monitored, however this did not happen appropriately when staff were on breaks.”

Despite the improvements, the inspectors found there were still some delays in admissions, meaning the department was often full and that some patients brought in by ambulance continued to wait in a corridor, some for over an hour.

CQC chief inspector of hospitals Sir Mike Richards said: “Portsmouth Hospitals Trust has worked  to address our most serious concerns. 

“While I note that there have been some significant improvements, some patients are still having to wait too long to be admitted and I expect the trust to address this as a priority.  Our inspectors will return in due course to check progress in this area.”

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Readers' comments (1)

  • ...but remember: don't fill vacancies unless they are "essential" .

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