Hospital bosses reassure patients

SCARBOROUGH Hospital officials have reiterated their vow to spearhead a resurgence in safeguarding patients’ care following criticism from a national regulator.

The Care Quality Commission revealed “serious concerns” over the hospital’s healthcare standards and facilities in a report yesterday, after it complied with just one of the watchdog’s 16 essential standards of quality and safety.

The hospital, which was inspected as part of a legal requirement in July, has been warned it could face fines of up to £50,000 if the breaches are not addressed, with the Commission demanding urgent action to rectify problems over poor record keeping by nurses, staffing issues in Accident and Emergency and a maintenance backlog.

However, a statement from Scarborough and North East Healthcare NHS Trust, said it had already rolled out an action plan to improve standards on five main areas raised by the Commission.

A spokesperson said: “The Care Quality Commission found that, in some instances, nursing documentation had not been completed in relation to assessment, planning and delivering care, however this has been reviewed and daily audits of documentation are now undertaken.

“It also highlighted the safeguarding of people from abuse, but, as there is no nationally prescribed training programme for this, the Trust has worked pro-actively with York University to develop a programme.

“Since April just under 30 per cent of all staff – who are all clinical staff – have received this training and the Trust is confident the programme will deliver training for all staff before the end of the financial year.

“The Care Quality Commission found risk assessments for children using play areas in Accident and Emergency and Outpatient departments were not completed and signage regarding parental responsibility was not displayed but these were addressed immediately.

“A planning maintenance programme is under way to address major estate and patient safety issues and the Trust is working hard to address a backlog of maintenance issues after inheriting an old and difficult to maintain hospital site, with an estimated cost of £6.45 million.

“We have launched our own Fit for the Future improvement programme, begun an Accident and Emergency refurbishment programme and will soon open a new 28-bed surgical ward giving patients state-of-the-art facilities and allowing us to deliver the high quality care and treatment our patients deserve.
“A new intake of doctors has reduced the number of locum doctors required, and the Trust is in the midst of realigning bed capacity at Scarborough and has reviewed all staffing levels in line with this.

“We are pro-actively recruiting registered nursing staff and has recently brought in a return to practice course for nurses who want to return.

“The Trust also has a highly regarded process for identifying aspects of the quality of patient care, and although this has evolved during the last 18 months there is work still to be do on improving environmental risk assessments and audits.

However, Jo Dent, Care Quality Commission regional director for Yorkshire and Humber, warned the Trust it was imperative Scarborough Hospital maintained the improvements.

She said: “No hospital will ever be risk-free, but risks can be minimised by meeting these essential standards.

“We have no evidence of people being harmed as a result of the breaches at Scarborough Hospital, but we want people to be aware that the risk of receiving poor care is greater in the hospital because standards are not being met.

“When nurses don’t keep proper records on patients or when staff aren’t trained to protect vulnerable people from abuse the consequences can be serious.
“If staffing falls below safe levels, or if staff are stretched too thinly, then people cut corners and mistakes can be made.

“It is the responsibility of the trust to make sure improvements are made, that standards are met and that patients receive the safest possible care.
“In the meantime we will be monitoring the trust closely and will not hesitate to take action if standards don’t improve.”