Care Quality Commission
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CQC requires improvement at Tameside Hospital NHS Foundation Trust

The Care Quality Commission has told Tameside Hospital NHS Foundation Trust that it must make urgent improvements to ensure patients receive services that meet national standards

The inspections were carried out in response to concerns raised about patient safety and the quality of service provision within the accident and emergency department and escalation areas of the hospital.

The CQC report, which was published yesterday, identifies that the trust was failing to meet three of the four national standards inspectors reviewed.

CQC has told the trust it must make improvements in relation to care and welfare of service users, respect and involvement and also the assessment and monitoring of service provision. Inspectors will be return, unannounced, to check that the necessary changes have been made.

The visiting inspection team included two CQC inspectors with a nursing background. On inspection, they found concerns with regards to the handover process for patients brought into the accident and emergency department by ambulance. This process took place in a corridor between the minor and major injury units meaning that the privacy of patients’ confidential information was not always respected.

Inspectors reviewed a number of care plans of patients who had been transferred from the hospital’s accident and emergency department to other wards and departments. In some cases transfer times had not been documented and discharge paperwork was incomplete, which could lead to a risk of inconsistent care and treatment.

Both inspection visits took place outside of office hours. At the time of both visits the accident and emergency department was quiet and inspectors found that there were sufficient numbers of suitably qualified staff on duty to meet patient needs. However, inspectors were told that during periods of high demand the trust relied on agency staff to fill vacant shifts.

There were beds available on wards on both days of the inspection, meaning that escalation procedures were not operational. However prior to the visit CQC had received information that the assessment and management of patients transferred to the escalation area was variable.

Inspectors found that the trust had systems in place to assess and monitor the quality of service being provided, but they found that these systems were not always robust enough to ensure that all risks were identified and effectively managed. Staff also raised concerns that, on occasions, learning from incidents, adverse events and errors was not always shared.

Malcolm Bower-Brown, CQC’s Regional Director for the North said:

“The shortfalls at Tameside General Hospital are a real concern and we have told the trust where changes need to be made to ensure national standards are met. 

“We remain in close contact with Monitor and other agencies and will be monitoring the trust’s progress carefully to ensure it makes the improvements required.   We also await the outcome of the recent Keogh review of the Trust and will consider the need for any further regulatory intervention in the light of the review findings. 

“Our inspectors will return unannounced to Tameside General to ensure that the required improvements have been implemented and are being sustained.

“CQC is in the process of implementing radical changes to the way we regulate health and social care providers and, in future, our hospital inspections will be deeper, wider and longer than ever before, strengthening our ability to assess service quality and provide assurance to patients and others. 

For further information please contact the CQC Regional Communications Manager, David Fryer 07901 514 220 or Kirstin Hannaford 0191 233 3629.

The CQC press office can be contacted on 0207 448 9401 or out of hours on 07917 232 143.

About the Care Quality Commission

The Care Quality Commission (CQC) is the independent regulator of health and social care in England.

We make sure health and social care services provide people with safe, effective, compassionate, high-quality care and we encourage care services to improve.

We monitor, inspect and regulate services to make sure they meet fundamental standards of quality and safety and we publish what we find to help people choose care. 

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