Health watchdog issues warning to Basildon hospital
Date posted: 27-08-2012
A HEALTH watchdog has issued a formal warning to Basildon and Thurrock University Hospital, saying it must make improvements to standards of care or face further action.
The warning from The Care Quality Commission (CQC) follows unannounced visits by inspectors to Basildon Hospital (pictured) in June and July which uncovered a number of failings reports the Thurrock Enquirer.
During the visits inspectors found improvements were needed in relation to assessing and monitoring the quality of service provision.
Inspectors looked at care records for children and adults, observed how people were being cared for and spoke with staff and patients.
Inspectors found the systems in place to analyse and learn from incidents that had the potential to result in harm to people using the service, were ineffective.
A 15 minute waiting time limit for triaging child patients’ cases had been breached in all four of the cases inspectors looked at.
Records showed the trust was failing to identify, assess and manage risks relating to the health, welfare and safety of patients at the hospital.
There was no effective system in place to allow the trust to regularly assess and monitor the quality of services provided in relation to its acute services its acute services and so that staff would always recognise when a patient’s condition was deteriorating.
The Commision’s Deputy Director of Operations (regions), Andrea Gordon, said: “The law says these are the standards that everyone should be able to expect. Providers have a duty to ensure they are compliant
“This warning sends a clear message that Basildon and Thurrock University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, needs to address this issue at Basildon University Hospital or face further consequences.
“Our inspectors will return in the near future and if we find that the required progress is not made we won’t hesitate to use our legal powers to protect the people who use this service.”
Following the same inspection CQC also issued the trust with a warning saying that improvements were needed in relation to the care and welfare of service users.
A deadline of 18 July was set for improvements to be made. CQC inspectors carried out a follow up inspection in relation to this standard on 1 August and found the trust had made improvements.
The report is the latest in a series of damning indictments of the hospital under the stewardship of chief executive Alan Whittle. Earlier this year he announced he would be stepping down and is due to be replaced in October by North Middlesex Hospital NHS Trust Chief Executive Clare Panniker.
However, it seems he has one last challenge before departing.
Speaking after the CQC report was announced, he said: “The Trust takes the report very seriously, and has put in place a number of improvement actions to address the warning notices within the timescales set by CQC.
“The main area of improvement relates to the early initial assessment of patients in A&E, particularly for children, in order to identify those at greatest risk of deterioration, and therefore in need of urgent treatment. The need to make changes in this area was identified by the Trust, following a serious incident investigation in May. For the five weeks since the beginning of July, over 98 per cent of the 1,600 children attending A&E had a full, detailed clinical assessment within 15 minutes, and the remaining 2 per cent had a rapid assessment within 10 minutes of arrival. We are intent on maintaining this standard of service, and are recruiting additional children’s nurses.
“The Trust sent an action plan to the CQC on 14 August, the day that the report was published, which addresses the minor and moderate concerns. It was pleasing to note in the report that the CQC has acknowledged significant improvements in areas that have given cause for concern in the past, such as the trust’s continued efforts to ensure the safety of its water systems.
“As always, our highest priority is providing excellent and safe care for our patients. On occasions when we do not meet the high standards that they are entitled to expect, we take immediate action to rectify this.
“We value the constructive assessment from the CQC and the crucial role they play in helping us to continue improving our services for patients.”
MP for South Basildon and East Thurrock Stephen Metcalfe said: “I am very disappointed that despite the best efforts of staff and management that The Care Quality Commission still has a range of concerns about the service the hospital delivers.”
“Despite recent improvements, it is obvious more still needs to be done.”
“I have therefore arranged to meet chairman, Ian Luder, this week to discuss what further support I can give and how we can reassure local residents that they will get the care they expect when using the Hospital.”