Russells Hall Hospital's A&E department criticised in damning inspection
Health bosses say they are 'extremely concerned' over care at the A&E department at Dudley's Russells Hall Hospital.
Urgent and emergency services remain ranked 'inadequate' following the latest damning verdict by inspectors from the Care Quality Commission.
Inspectors visited the Dudley Group NHS Foundation Trust, in June, to look specifically at A&E care as a result of continued safety concerns in the service.
Their visit came after an inspection led to the CQC taking enforcement action earlier this year to drive up standards.
Inspectors said action was needed because they believed 'people will or may be exposed to the risk of harm' without improvements.
As a result of the latest inspection, the Care Quality Commission (CQC) has taken action to vary conditions on the trust's registration.
The inspection found a number of concerns including:
- Inspectors made aware of serious incidents, an example of which was a patient who had arrived with signs of serious illness and had been placed back in the waiting area. They had then suffered a cardiac arrest and died. The hospital trust had launched an investigation in the death.
- The triage, assessment and tracking of patients in the emergency department – including the management of patients with suspected sepsis.
- Care records were not always written and managed in a way that kept patients safe
- Some staff raised concerns regarding the leadership style of some of the executive team, speaking of a poor culture and working environment.
Heidi Smoult, deputy chief inspector of hospitals in the central region, said: "We have had ongoing concerns about the emergency department at Russells Hall Hospital and were extremely concerned at what we found during our inspection.
“Patients were not being consistently assessed in a safe way, in particular, whether staff were identifying patients with suspected sepsis effectively. As a result of this we have varied conditions on the trust’s registration meaning it must provide regular updates to CQC surrounding staffing, triage of patients and its management of sepsis.
“Inspectors returned to the department in August to carry out a further inspection and a full report of this inspection will be published in due course. Meanwhile, we continue to monitor the trust extremely closely."
Chief executive of the trust, Diane Wake, said: "We welcome the report and its findings and we are absolutely determined to deliver the improvements within our emergency department to ensure our patients are safe.
"The CQC has been frustrated at the pace of change and so we have received external support from an emergency care improvement team. We have also approached a neighbouring trust whose ED was rated Good by the CQC to share best practice between ED consultants.
"We have recently appointed a new clinical lead for urgent and emergency care who is focused on working with our emergency teams to improve the care we deliver.
"We are moving towards a continuous improvement culture and replicating good practice to provide an outstanding service for our patients."
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