While looking into the death records of the A&E department at Russells Hall Hospital in Dudley, the CQC highlighted concerns regarding the deaths of 54 patients over a six month period.
When the CQC last rated the department December 2017, it was given a rating of ‘inadequate’. A further inspection took place in June 2018 but was not rated.
Enforcement action was taken against the Dudley Group NHS Foundation Trust in January and February 2018 as it was believed that people would have or may have been exposed to harm if carried on unchecked.
Some of the key findings from the most recent CQC inspection:
- Care records were not always written and managed in a way that kept patients safe.
- Local audits being completed for sepsis patients were providing false assurance on the management of this condition within the department.
- Patients presenting to the emergency department did not always receive a robust assessment of their clinical presentation and condition during the triage process.
- We found the waiting time for triage assessment to routinely exceed one hour for patients who presented by other modes aside from ambulance presentations. This was particularly evident in the category of adult majors.
Some incidents that were witnessed by the CQC inspectors:
- During the inspection the CQC team sat in the reception area for two 30-minute periods and observed that there were three patients who appeared very unwell and in two cases members of the public raised concerns for their safety.
- One patient was a patient bleeding profusely. The triage nurse was called after the member of the public alerted reception staff. They dressed the wound and sat them back in the main waiting area and within 15 minutes another member of the public approached the desk and raised concerns. The wound was again bleeding through and the patient appeared unwell. Reception staff alerted the triage nurse again, approximately 15 minutes passed and CQC noted they remained in the area with blood oozing out on to their clothing and the floor. At this point CQC intervened and requested they be seen and attended to due to concerns for their immediate safety. Staff then took the patient for treatment.
- In another case a patient appeared very pale and unsteady. A member of the public alerted reception staff who alerted the triage nurse. The patient then attended the triage door and was unsteady on their feet. The triage assistant instructed them to sit back in the waiting room.
The full CQC report from this inspection can be found here.
Further to this report, an independent inquiry has been ordered into the hospital.
Failure to receive the correct care when visiting an A&E department can have a significant impact on the patient’s life and there may be cause to seek the advice of a medical negligence expert about pursuing a hospital negligence claim.