Inspectors have discovered a decline in medical care at three Essex hospitals, namely Basildon, Southend, and Broomfield, following a visit by the Care Quality Commission (CQC) prompted by safety concerns.
The CQC has issued a warning to the Mid and South Essex NHS Foundation Trust, demanding urgent improvements. Acting CEO Hannah Coffey expressed deep disappointment with the report’s findings.
All three hospitals, which were previously rated as “requires improvement,” have now been classified as “inadequate” for medical care.
According to the inspection report, Southend hospital was found to have insufficient medical staff possessing the necessary qualifications, skills, training, and experience to ensure patient safety and prevent avoidable harm.
During the inspection, inspectors discovered catheter bags in contact with the floor, posing a risk of urinary tract infections for patients.
Inspectors also identified a frail elderly patient, experiencing pain and lying in urine-soaked sheets, who was unable to notify staff due to the call bell being out of their reach.
The CQC reported high vacancy rates and an insufficient number of nursing and support staff at Broomfield hospital, along with issues of leaking pipes.
During an inspection at Basildon Hospital, inspectors found leaking and damaged pipes in a room where a patient was being cared for, despite the issue being reported three weeks earlier.
Inspectors discovered that out of the 14 “Do Not Attempt Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation (DNACPR)” documents examined, half of the patients lacked capacity. Surprisingly, only two of them had been assessed under the Mental Capacity Act.
DNACPR provides guidance for medical staff regarding the actions to be taken or avoided in the event of a cardiac arrest or sudden death.
The inspectors stated that due to the lack of appropriate actions identified, patients were not always adequately protected from avoidable harm. Other common findings across all three hospitals included difficulties in accessing services when needed, failure to meet national waiting time standards, incomplete or outdated risk assessments by staff, and inadequate documentation of people’s care and treatment. The Mid and South Essex NHS Foundation Trust, as a whole, continues to be rated as “requires improvement.”
The CQC found that despite the shortcomings, patients across all three services were treated with compassion and kindness, and their individual needs were supported.
In April 2020, all three hospitals were consolidated into a single trust. Hazel Roberts, the CQC deputy director in the East of England, stated that the leadership of the trust did not possess comprehensive oversight of the challenges they were encountering.
“We are looking for substantial improvements,” she remarked, emphasizing the importance of ensuring timely access to the service and an adequate number of trained staff to provide safe care.
Source : bbc.com