Hospital told to make further improvements to A&E by watchdog

SOUTHPORT and Ormskirk Hospital requires considerable improvements to make both sites safer, more effective, responsive and an improvement in leadership – according to a care watchdog report.

Inspectors from the Care and Qualities Commission visited the Trust in April of this year to see how much improvement had been made since its previous report in May 2015.

Some postives could be taken from the report, which was released on Tuesday (November 15), as the North West Regional Spinal Injuries Unit at Southport hospital improved two levels from Inadequate to Good with some aspects of outstanding practice.

Inspectors also noted improvements the maternity service had made at Ormskirk hospital, rating it Requires Improvement. It was previously rated Inadequate.

Yet overall improvements still need to be made to raise the hospital’s rating further. Perhaps most damningly the CQC has rated  the accident and emergency department and the surgical services at Southport and Formby District General Hospital as Inadequate.

Inspectors found that the hospital did not give sufficient priority to safety in urgent care.

Patients needing urgent care were waiting too long to be seen and assessed, with some patients remaining in the department under the supervision of ambulance staff for periods of up to 11 hours.

In surgery at Southport and Formby District General Hospital, staff did not always assess, monitor or manage risks to people who use the services and opportunities to prevent or minimise harm were missed.

Medically deteriorating patients were not always identified promptly and there could be a delay before medical assessment was undertaken.

The recruitment of suitable medical staff was challenging with vacancies for junior doctors and consultants.

Recruitment and retention of nursing and midwifery had been a longstanding issue.

However, the inspectors found there had been a notable improvement in both the maternity services and the North West Regional Spinal Injuries Centre which had both received Inadequate ratings at the last inspection. The Chief Inspector of Hospitals, Professor Sir Mike Richards, said: “Two years ago we identified a number of problems at Southport and Ormskirk NHS Trust.

“I am disappointed that overall the progress has been limited and that we have found a deterioration in the safety and quality of some of the trust’s services, particularly in the emergency department at Southport and Formby Hospital.

“I note with concern the delays in patients being assessed in the accident and emergency department, and the risks to safety in surgery which must be addressed.

“Since our inspection earlier this year the trust has taken steps to improve – and we are monitoring that on a monthly basis.

“On the other hand, there have been significant improvements in all aspects of patient care and treatment at the North West Regional Spinal Injuries Unit that we had previously rated as inadequate for safety. It is now rated as Good with some aspects of outstanding practice.

“We have also found improvements within the maternity service although there is room for further progress.

“Until recently, the trust was led by an interim executive team, which limited the ability to demonstrate a clear strategy for the future.

“It is important now that the new executive team focusses on the areas where we have identified continuing shortfalls.”

Rob Gillies, executive medical director, said: “The inspection they said the Trust possessed ‘committed, compassionate, and passionate staff who are willing to go above and beyond to do their best for patients’.

“We are delighted to see this confirmed.”

Responding to the rating of A&E and surgical services at Southport, Mr Gillies said significant progress had been made on the issues the inspectors raised seven months ago.

“A&E is now a very different department. We have benefited from external support and put in resources of our own, including an extra £600,000 for nurses staffing.

“This has contributed to a major improvement with the department regularly the best performer in Cheshire and Merseyside and consistently among the top performers in the country,” he said.