Colchester Hospital rated as ‘inadequate’ by recent inspection

An inspection by the Care Quality Commission (CQC) has found significant failures within Colchester Hospital rating it as ‘inadequate’ in relation to safety standards and has highlighted specific issues in hygiene levels.

These latest inspection findings of the CQC deem safety at the hospital to be ‘inadequate’. This follows a previous report by the CQC published in July 2014, which highlighted safety standards required improvement at Colchester Hospital including a lack of good hygiene practices amongst staff and more particularly within the Accident and Emergency Department.

Colchester Hospital did not wholly agree with the CQC report, published in January, and felt the report was ‘not balanced’ nor did it ‘reflect the unprecedented pressures it was under at the time of the inspection in November and December last year’. The Trust highlighted the increased demand for A&E services, and pointed to the increase of more than 10% of patients in November 2014 admitted through blue light ambulances, compared with the same period in November of the previous year.

The Trust raised their concerns regarding the period the inspection was undertaken and that, although the Accident and Emergency department was highlighted as a ‘major area’ for improvement, it did not take into consideration the pressure the department was under during this time.

In a statement made from the Trust’s Council of Governors in January, patients and the local community were assured they could ‘have confidence in the quality of care and treatment provided by Colchester Hospital Trust’, and the Trust explained that they were currently on a ‘journey of improvement’, which ‘will take some time.’

Meanwhile, plans to reduce the multi million pound budget deficit have been announced, which include a significant reduction in back office staff.

Chief executive Dr Lucy Moore said that ‘the majority of the reduction will be achieved by not recruiting to posts that are currently vacant, by restructuring our corporate services and by redeploying staff.’ The trust aims to have 240 fewer full-time posts by this time next year.

Dr Moore said that job losses and compulsory redundancies would be ‘few in number’ but ‘could not be ruled out’. This statement was released following an email received by members of staff from the hospital stating that the trust was facing some financial difficulties and outlining that there would be a number of job losses.

The findings of the inspection have raised a number of questions as to whether the hospital will make the drastic changes needed or if it will continue to blame its ‘exceptionally busy’ staff and external environment pressures for its shortfalls.

Commenting on this most recent inspection, Dominic Graham, Medical Negligence Solicitor at Blackwater Law, said:

‘’It is clear that following this report from the Care Quality Commission, important lessons need to be learnt in relation to patient safety and welfare, particularly within the hospital’s Accident and Emergency department.

The quality of patient care at Colchester Hospital detailed in the report is unacceptable, particularly when it follows numerous warnings issued by the Care Quality Commission requesting the hospital to act.

The breaches, which have been reported to health services regulator, Monitor, are evidence that Colchester Hospital is continually failing to make the changes it desperately needs to improve safety and the standard of care for all its patients.’’

If you or a member of your family has experienced poor standard of care by a medical professional, call the clinical negligence specialists at Blackwater Law Solicitors for free initial advice.