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Trust behind Queen Elizabeth Hospital and Queen Mary's Hospital services "requires improvement" says CQC

PUBLISHED: 10:54 17 August 2017 | UPDATED: 10:54 17 August 2017

Queen Elizabeth Hospital

Queen Elizabeth Hospital

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The trust has failed to improve on its previous inspection three years ago

A damning report has revealed staff shortages and safety concerns at a hospitals’ trust treating Bexley patients.

Lewisham and Greenwich NHS Trust runs Queen Elizabeth Hospital in Woolwich and Lewisham Hospital, as well as a number of services at Sidcup’s Queen Mary’s Hospital,

Despite being out of the borough, many patients are referred to QEH for a number of services, including its maternity ward.

When inspectors visited in March, they found safety, effectiveness, responsiveness, leadership and care all required improvement, the same rating it received three years ago.

In a report published on Thursday, the Care and Quality Commission warned “shortages of medical, nursing and allied health professional staff in most departments” were having an impact on delivery of care and patient safety.

At the time of the inspection, there were 1,159 vacant posts, including 346 nurses and midwife positions.

The trust has responded by saying it is running “major recruitment campaigns locally, nationally and internationally” and has hired 90 nursing staff since the visit.

Inspectors went on to warn of a “significant risk of infection” due to breaches of Infection Prevention and Control policy by surgeons.

Cleanliness concerns also spread to the maternity and gynaecology department, where “I am clean stickers” were used on surfaces which inspectors found to be of a poor standard.

At QEH, end of life care was branded “inadequate”.

England’s chief inspector of hospitals, professor Ted Baker, said: “The trust has not made sufficient progress since our last comprehensive inspection. There remain areas of unresolved risks and areas for significant improvement. This included the acute emergency pathway at Queen Elizabeth Hospital.

“However, we did see good and some outstanding practice in the trust’s community services, and great credit goes to the staff in these services for the quality of care they provide.”

Dr Elizabeth Aitken, medical director for the trust, said: “We were not getting it right for every patient every time when the inspection was carried out. We apologise to the individual patients and their families where the report shows we were failing to provide the best care.

“We launched a major safety and quality improvement plan immediately after the CQC inspection in March and have made significant improvements for patients.

“The CQC report also acknowledges several areas of good and outstanding practice and highlights many areas where the trust has improved since the last inspection in 2014. We are extremely proud of our staff who work so hard, often under significant pressures.”

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