Calls for sweeping improvements at Dudley's Russells Hall Hospital

Sweeping changes have been demanded at Russells Hall Hospital following a top level investigation sparked by high death rates.

Russells Hall Hospital
Russells Hall Hospital

Staffing levels at Dudley Group of Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, which runs the hospital, were branded inadequate and the way the hospital handled complaints from patients was also criticised.

Hospital bosses in Dudley have pledged to make improvements following the investigation by NHS medical director Professor Sir Bruce Keogh.

But relatives of patients who have died at the hospital are upset that Russells Hall has escaped the fate of 11 other hospitals across the country, which have been placed under special measures, leading to external managers being drafted in to work with leadership teams.

The hospital will face a strict action plan of measures and bosses have been warned of a further visit by inspectors in the autumn.

The report found the death rate at the hospital trust was higher than the national standard between April 2011 and March last year, although it has since dipped below it.

The review was also critical of the trust for not acting to improve the quality of care after the high death rates were flagged up in previous years.

In the report, released yesterday, Sir Bruce described the hospital’s workforce as committed, loyal and passionate.

Some wards, he said, were well managed and staff showed ‘excellent clinical practice’.

But he found areas of concern in staffing levels.

In the report, Sir Bruce said: “Staff levels and skill mix were not found to be adequate in a number of wards, most concerning were the registered nurse ratios in the two large general wards which were well below the levels recommended as nationally recognised good practice.”

Paula Clark, the hospital trust chief executive, said she welcomed the report.

She said work had been ongoing to fill a gap in staffing levels with a £7.5million recruitment programme having been carried out over the past three years.

She said this would bring 18 more nurses this financial year.

“I think we are happy to say we can always do better for patients and it is important that we learn and we are open to that,” said Miss Clark.

Regional organiser for Unison Tracy Wood said there would be 50 more nurses recruited in September. The trust has also split the stroke rehabilitation and elderly care ward into two departments following concerns that the 70-bed ward was too large for one management team.

Comments for: "Calls for sweeping improvements at Dudley's Russells Hall Hospital"

Woody

The problem with this hospital is the management to staff ratio, simply put "there are too many chiefs and not enough Indians".

The staff do work hard, but they do miss the leadership of skilled nurses on each ward to lead by example and offer support to junior staff.

I think there should be a restructure from the top downwards, thus releasing money for staff on the frontline rather than top heavy management teams. You know the type, the one's who have a meeting to discuss what will be on the agenda for the meeting they will be attending about staff morale which is normally brushed aside as AOB!

scott

Business managers, communications, training, general, estates, office, data, contracts, HR, ESR, Admin, account, therapy , clinical servives, assertive case, appointment, desktop and mobile, IT, business support, divisional info, academy, waiting list, discharge,business intelligence to name a few, all with assistants, deputies and P.As. THERES THE PROBLEM, get rid of this lot and get nurses in who cost less and unlike this lot actually have contact with the patient. Oh yes the chief exec gets £125K a year, No wonder this lot were all worried about yesterdays announcements.

nh

Without communications, estates, IT etc a hospital would not operate - these carry out the vital services that allow such things as repair work, switchboard, hospital appointments and cleaning to be carried out. I agree that all areas of hospitals are management top heavy and does need to be addressed but this is the case where ever you go these days. Yes, more nursing staff are needed but they cannot carry out the duties of cleaners, IT specialists and the likes of electricians etc.

Den

Sounds like "nh"S management spin to me. Yes the other services are vital but do they need managers with little or no skill in the proffession just the ability to balance the books. Most of the services mentioned are given to external companies; e.g the canteen cut services to all and staff numbers cut or sent elsewhere YET the manager and deputy manager for the canteen still employed! Why?

Dudley W. Orker

I think you will find that the Chief exec get £185K, but at least they can and did celebrate because "there are worse out there", it’s a disgrace that two (Dudley & Blackpool) of the top four hospitals for extra deaths are not on the governments hit list, at least the Chief Exec old hospital (Burton) made the list