Care Quality Commission
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CQC tells St George’s Hospital to improve after unannounced inspection

The Care Quality Commission has told St George’s Healthcare NHS Trust to make improvements at St George’s Hospital following an unannounced inspection at which it failed to meet six of the national standards.

Following the two day inspection in January, inspectors have told the hospital, in Blackshaw Road, Tooting, to make a number of improvements. The inspection team visited the Accident and Emergency (A&E) department, paediatrics, maternity, stroke and rehabilitation, care of the elderly and renal units. The team included six CQC inspectors, a head of nursing from another trust, and a midwifery expert.

The majority of patients spoken with said that they were happy with the care they were receiving, but some were less satisfied. Inspectors saw many instances of good care, but also saw examples of poor care. A full report on the findings of this inspection has been published on the CQC website yesterday.

Among the findings where action is required by the Trust:

  • Some parts of the hospital were not as clean as they should have been. Inspectors saw visible dust in several wards. Some clinical areas were dirty and did not appear to have been properly cleaned between patients. In one ward, the doors to isolation rooms used by patients with infectious diseases were left open.
  • In A&E, private conversations about people’s medical conditions could sometimes be heard by others. Inspectors saw a person using a commode in view of other patients. In the care of the elderly unit, inspectors identified some communication issues between patients and staff.
  • In A&E, staff spoken with were not aware of the need to offer equipment designed to reduce the risk of pressure sores to some patients who had been waiting a long time.
  • A number of women on the maternity unit complained about the way their male partners had been treated during their time there and about a lack of facilities for men, saying this had affected their care.
  • Some patients on an older people’s ward couldn’t reach drinks left on trays by their beds.
  • Patient, staff and management records were not always adequate or stored properly.

Matthew Trainer, Deputy Director of CQC in London, said, “People are entitled to be treated in services which are safe, effective, caring, well led, and responsive to their needs. Where a service is failing to deliver on any of these, action is needed.

“Most of the people we spoke to at St George’s Hospital told our inspectors that they were happy with the care they received and praised staff for their efforts, but this was not universal. We found that people being treated at the hospital were not always experiencing care to the standard they had a right to expect.

“Some of the issues our inspectors witnessed were fundamental to good care – people should be able to have a private conversation about their condition or use a commode without being seen by other people. If a patient is calling out, someone should attend to them. Partners have an important role to play in childbirth and must be made welcome. We also identified some concerning infection control issues. Clinical areas need to be kept clean to reduce the risk of people getting hospital acquired infections.

“The challenge for St George’s is to ensure that the good care our inspectors saw is delivered across the board. We have spoken to the Trust’s senior team who have made a firm commitment to get to grips with the issues we have raised. They have set out what they have already done and intend to do and we will return unannounced to check whether improvements have been made.”

CQC found three standards were not being met with moderate impact, and three with minor impact. The Trust met two other standards checked at this inspection.

For further information please contact the CQC press office on 0207 448 9239 or out of hours on 07917 232143.

Notes to editors

CQC has published a full report at Inspectors found that St George’s Healthcare NHS Trust was failing to meet six standards:

  • Respecting and involving people who use services
  • Care and welfare of people who use services
  • Meeting nutritional needs
  • Cleanliness and infection control
  • Staffing
  • Records

The trust was meeting two standards checked at this inspection.

About the Care Quality Commission

The Care Quality Commission (CQC) is the independent regulator of health and social care in England. We make sure that care in hospitals, dental practices, ambulances, care homes, people’s own homes and elsewhere meets national standards of quality and safety – the standards anyone should expect whenever or wherever they receive care. We also protect the interests of vulnerable people, including those whose rights are restricted under the Mental Health Act.

We register services if they meet national standards, we make unannounced inspections of services – both on a regular basis and in response to concerns – and we carry out investigations into why care fails to improve. We continually monitor information from our inspections, from information we collect nationally and locally, and from the public, local groups, care workers and whistleblowers. We put the views, experiences, health and wellbeing of people who use services at the centre of our work and we have a range of powers we can use to take action if people are getting poor care.

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