Health lead­ers

Im­prove­ment or­dered across ar­eas of care

Kentish Express Ashford & District - - Hospital In Crisis - By Matt Le­clere

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”.

Con­cerned

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 ken­tish­ex­press@thek­m­group.co.uk

Pro­fes­sor Sir Mike Richards, chief in­spec­tor of hos­pi­tals

MP Damian Green

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