Weston General Hospital: CQC rules emergency service not good enough

Norovirus can cause hospital wards to close. Picture: Mark Atherton

Norovirus can cause hospital wards to close. Picture: Mark Atherton - Credit: Archant

Weston General Hospital’s emergency service still needs to improve, according to inspectors.

The Care Quality Commission today (Tuesday) has told Weston Area Health NHS it must do more, with concerns over support for junior doctors, monitoring patients' safety and the capability of some locum medics raised in its latest report.

A senior figure within the watchdog said the trust's lack of progress since a warning was issued in the spring has been 'disappointing'.

Close attention has been paid to the hospital's emergency care in recent years. The CQC was a key player in the decision to shut the department at night in July 2017 on safety grounds due to staff shortages.

In February it rated the urgent and emergency services as inadequate overall. In April a warning notice was issued amid concerns over safety and quality of patients' care in the urgent and emergency care department and specialist community mental health services for children and young adults.

The latest inspection, carried out unannounced on September 17-18, reveals insufficient progress.

Dr Nigel Acheson, the CQC's deputy chief inspector of hospitals for the south, said: "It is disappointing to report that since our original inspection Weston Area Health NHS Trust has not made enough progress to fully satisfy our warning notice.

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"Although we have seen real improvements in its children and adolescent mental health services (CAMHS) services, we have made it clear that we require further work to address the issues we had found in urgent and emergency services.

"We told the trust where it must take action to improve. The trust leadership has assured us that board are fully sighted on the issues we have raised.

"Weston needs to sustain the improvement we have found and address the issues which we have again identified."

Today's report said support for junior doctors has improved, but highlighted further areas for improvement.

It said: "The new intake of junior medical staff was more positive about supervision and engagement from senior colleagues, although some concerns remained about a lack of supervision at weekends, when ad-hoc locums were employed.

"(But) junior doctors were not confident about the clinical capability of some locum staff."

Improvements in CAMHS were noted, with the recruitment of a clinical nurse lead to oversee key work highlighted.

But more action is required to ensure patients cannot harm themselves as otherwise 'vulnerable children remain at risk'.

No new rating has been given to the urgent care service or CAMHS, meaning they remain inadequate.

Mr Acheson said: "We will return in due course to ensure that the necessary improvements have been made."