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14 March 2017

Safety at four in five hospitals branded 'not good enough'

A leading hospital inspector has warned that the safety at four in five hospital trusts in England is not good enough.

Professor Sir Mike Richards, who is a leading hospital inspector has stated that the NHS are standing on a “burning platform” and that change is required. A review which stated staffing and overcrowding were major concerns and that unprecedented pressures on hospitals is what is patients at risk, is what he followed up with a warning.

Other issues highlighted by The Care Quality Commission review include delays getting tests and treatments, and poor care of life-threatening conditions. Inspectors have warned that some of the problems are beyond the control of hospitals because of rising demands being placed on them.

After a review of 136 hospital trusts, 11% were rated as inadequate on safety and 70% on required improvement. Some of the problems highlighted were:

  • Poor care given to patients life-threatening conditions such as sepsis and kidney injuries

  • Too many long waits for operations, such as knee and hip replacements

  • Problems with medicines management, including out-of-date drugs, and maintenance of equipment

  • Bed occupancy rates routinely above recommended levels

  • Temporary escalation wards - set up during busy periods - predominantly staffed by agency workers who were not familiar with the hospital practices

  • Tests being delayed because of poor information-sharing and record-keeping

  • Too few nurses in medical and elderly care wards, midwives in maternity units and doctors in A&Es

Professor Sir Mike said,

“The NHS now stands on a burning platform - the need for change is clear, but finding the resources and energy to deliver that change while simultaneously providing safe patient care can seem almost impossible.

He said that, “transformational change” was possible, even in “the most challenging of circumstances”, and also went on to say that safety remained “a real concern” with many trusts failing to learn when things go wrong.

Sir Mike also highlighted strengths, saying staff were good at providing care with compassion and leadership, remaining strong in many places.

A third of trusts could be rated as good or outstanding overall if all of the problem factors are taken into account.

If you feel like you have received poor, inadequate treatment or have experienced a case of clinical negligence, please do not hesitate to get in touch with us on 0191 5666 500 or complete our short enquiry form and we will be in touch.