Scathing inspection report says Broomfield Hospital requires improvement
PUBLISHED: 08:35 11 February 2019 | UPDATED: 08:35 11 February 2019
A patient at Broomfield Hospital was left in the same clothes for five days, an inspection report into the state of the hospital has revealed.
The Care Quality Commission said the hospital ‘required improvement’ in a report published on January 1, a downgrade from its 2016 ‘good’ rating.
Additionally, Mid Essex Hospital Services NHS Trust, which manages the hospital, received an ‘inadequate’ rating for its medical care service.
It did receive a ‘good’ rating for caring.
The report argued that “patients’ dignity was not always respected” when medical care was administered, explaining that a patient had been in the same clothes for almost a week. The inspection was carried out between September 4 and October 18 last year.
Explaining why the medical care had been rated ‘inadequate’, the report said: “There was not always a compassionate approach from staff. This appeared to be due to factors such as lack of clear support and leadership for staff, low staffing and capacity issues, as opposed to staff not wanting to care for patients.”
The report said that although medical care staff were highly committed there was a feeling of “stress and poor morale” and a lack of sufficient support systems.
Staff were supportive of each other and “pulled together” despite high vacancies, the report said.
Staying on medical care, the report added: “We were not assured that processes in place to ensure that temporary staff were competent to carry out roles were robust and the pressures on permanent staff were having an impact on their ability to deliver safe care. This included vacancies of up to 59.8 per cent and a high reliance on agency nurses to fill gaps.”
At the time of inspection the trust did not employ any mental health nurses and staff reported delays in mental health patients accessing necessary care. The report added there was no clear plan as to how the service was going to manage the ‘winter pressures’ period, and that a ward which had originally opened to help with high numbers last winter had never been able to close afterwards, due to continued pressure.
In response to the report, trust chief executive, Clare Panniker said: “This was the rating we were expecting. We have faced a number of challenges in recent years and I’m reassured that most of the issues raised by the CQC are ones we had already identified ourselves and have started to address.
“We are determined to provide the very best standards of care for our patients, and I am confident that, with a new and committed leadership team supporting a truly caring workforce, we will deliver significant improvements to regain a Good and then Outstanding rating.”
She added: “We have worked quickly to improve medical care and, since the inspection, have opened a new ward providing modern, dementia-friendly facilities for our elderly patients.
“We know that having teams of permanent staff leads to improved care and a better working environment. That is what we want for our staff and patients.
“Having to rely on agency nurses not only impacts on care, but also costs us millions of pounds a year. We have introduced a host of initiatives to tackle the problem, including an overseas recruitment campaign, offering our student nurses permanent roles with us, and supporting apprenticeships which develop healthcare assistants to become registered nurses. We are also working with national colleagues and local universities to see what more we can do.
She went on: “We are well-sighted on the issues we are facing here at Mid Essex, and understand the scale of the improvements needed. As we continue to prepare for the planned merger with Basildon and Southend hospitals, we are determined to rise to the challenge, and have already started to see real change.
“I would like to thank our staff who work tirelessly to provide the very best care to our patients.”