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Raft of concerns at Cornwall's main hospitals

Raft of concerns at Cornwall's main hospitals

Published by Emma Carton at 8:47am 22nd November 2018. (Updated at 9:08am 22nd November 2018)

By Local Democracy Reporter, Richard Whitehouse

Inspectors have raised concerns at Royal Cornwall Hospitals' Trust in several areas, including staff shortages and the lack of a winter plan.

The Care Quality Commission (CQC) carried out a comprehensive inspection of Royal Cornwall Hospitals Trust in September.

Preliminary findings from that inspection have been reported to Cornwall Council's health and adult social care overview and scrutiny committee, which meets next week.

The initial report was given to hospitals' trust by the CQC so that it could start taking action to address concerns before the formal report is published.

What are the areas of concern found by the CQC?

  • Chronic staff shortages continue within medicine and surgery
  • The Winter plan was not ready/fit for purpose
  • Patient flow remains an issue impacting on the front door, too many patients directed to the emergency department (ED)
  • Lack of formal process for surgeon and anaesthetist cover at West Cornwall Hospital
  • Infection prevention and control issues in outpatient departments
  • Mandatory training not up to date in critical care
  • High risk equipment in critical care had not been serviced
  • Safeguarding training for medical staff a concern in child health
  • No formal child and adolescent mental health processes
  • Concerns regarding corridor safety in ED
  • The identification and management of sepsis in ED and medical wards remains a concern
  • Significant environmental issues were noted in the mortuary
  • Risks not effectively escalated and managed

However the CQC did make some positive findings including:

  1. Improvements in theatres and theatre management
  2. Governance within surgical division had improved
  3. Significant improvements in maternity
  4. Infection prevention and control issues in fracture clinic had been addressed
  5. Excellent diagnostic services and team with elements outstanding
  6. Impressive clinical leadership in ED and some significant improvements made in ED since last inspection

In the report going to the committee, RCHT has outlined some of the work which is going on to address the concerns raised by the CQC.

This includes improvements to the mortuary; review of ED escalation protocol has been completed; plan completed to address safeguarding training in child health; table top testing of the winter plan completed and weekly winter planning meetings have started.

RCHT says that the final report from the CQC is due at the end of November or the beginning of December.

The inspection followed another visit in June by the CQC which found that RCHT was rated "inadequate".

That came after the watchdog placed RCHT in special measures in October 2017 following another inadequate report from an inspection in July 2017.

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