Health watchdog Care Quality Commission (CQC) raised its concerns over the safety and quality of services in Pinderfields, Pontefract and Dewsbury hospitals and demanded improvements from the Mid Yorkshire Hospitals Trust that runs them.
As part of the new in-depth regime, CQC visited Mid Yorkshire Hospitals twice in July for inspection and reported that the safety in the hospitals was inadequate. They required improvements on the effectiveness, responsiveness and management.
During inspections, experts raised a couple of issues such as staff shortages and huge outpatient appointments backlog.
The acute respiratory care unit Gate 20 of Pinderfields Hospital in Wakefield has been found to be seriously understaffed that six beds were immediately ordered to be closed. Nurses were said to be looking after too many patients.
At Dewsbury Hospital, Ward 5 was reduced to 16 beds due to staffing shortage as well. Despite this, the staff still needed to take extra patients because of high demand for beds.
The hospital’s mortuary was said to be in a state of disrepair. With damaged walls and broken tiles, inspectors said effective and thorough cleaning cannot be undertaken. Staff in the mortuary were also not getting protection against the risk of infection.
The CQC also discovered that the trust’s outpatient services have a backlog of 9,500 patients.
Chief executive of Mid Yorkshire Hospitals, Stephen Eames, has said that they welcome CQC’s report and recognise the problems. He claimed that they have already taken actions on most of the issues raised.
According to Eames, £1.2m has been invested for the recruitment of qualified nurses and that around 100 nurses have been hired since the visit. He also said that the Dewsbury mortuary had been redecorated and the outpatient backlog, having been significantly reduced to 3000, is expected to be cleared before the year ends.
Despite the challenging circumstances, Eames said that the staff are doing an outstanding job. He said patients can trust the quality of care and assured them that they are taking CQC report seriously.
The CQC’s chief inspector of hospitals, Prof Sir Mike Richards has acknowledged the actions the trust has taken but will still see to it that their findings are being taken seriously and changes are actually being made.
He recognized the staff’s “compassionate and sensitive” treatment of patients but expressed his concerns over the effects of staff shortage on the safety and quality of patient care.