Improvement ordered across areas of care
A damning report condemning Ashford’s William Harvey Hospital as “inadequate”, has been published by a health watchdog.
The findings – unveiled yesterday (Wednesday) – on the borough’s only acute hospital, follow a series of inspections there in March by the Care Quality Commission (CQC).
Inspectors rated the hospital’s accident and emergency (A&E), surgery and children’s care provisions all to be “inadequate” while the medical care, maternity and family planning, end of life care and outpatient services departments were all given “requires improvement” ratings.
Only the intensive and critical care facilities were rated as being “good”.
Despite the overall inadequate rating, inspectors reported that
‘We saw ineffective leadership in action and that the board was at times receiving false assurance’
staff “were caring and responsive to people’s needs” but that there were not always enough “appropriately skilled” staff on duty making sure people had the required care.
Among the inspection’s 11 main findings were that records of waiting times were not the actual time patients were left waiting, some clinics were routinely overbooked, children’s needs were not always being met appropriately, and equipment may not have been fit for use due to unsuitable maintenance in accordance with manufacturer’s guidelines.
It also found there were not enough staff to provide care safely to women during pregnancy.
The inspection showed the midwife to birth ratio was “up to beyond one to 33” in comparison to the national recommendation of one to 28.
The CQC also carried out inspections at the Kent and Canterbury Hospital and the Queen Elizabeth the Queen Mother Hospital, in Margate, which were found to be inadequate and requiring improvement respectively.
Professor Sir Mike Richards, CQC’s chief inspector of hospitals, has recommended the East Kent Hospitals University NHS Foundation Trust, which runs all three hospitals, should be placed into “special measures”.
Professor Richards said: “We were extremely concerned at the disconnect we identified between the senior team and the staff working on the front line [at all three hospitals].
“We saw ineffective leadership in action across a number of clinical services, and that the board was at times receiving false assurance through governance procedures.
“This [special measures] will allow the trust to receive the additional support that I believe it needs to deliver safe, caring, effective and responsive services to the local populations it serves.
“We will continue to keep a close eye on the trust and will inspect again in due course to assess whether or not adequate progress is being made.”
What do you think? Write to Kentish Express, 34-36 North Street, Ashford TN24 8JR or email email@example.com
Professor Sir Mike Richards, chief inspector of hospitals
MP Damian Green