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Watchdog: Patient safety was put at risk at Basildon Hospital
8:19am Tuesday 21st August 2012 in Basildon
PATIENT safety was put at risk by a string of failings at Basildon Hospital , a health watchdog has revealed.
The Care Quality Commission has issued a formal warning to hospital bosses after it made unannounced visits in June and July.
Inspectors found the hospital was missing a 15-minute assessment deadline for children turning up for treatment in the A&E department.
Tragically, this failure proved fatal for one youngster as last month the Echo revealed how a 30-day-old boy died in May after waiting 55 minutes to be assessed in paediatric A&E due to staff shortages and a high number of patients.
But the health watchdog also found: l There was no effective system allowing the trust to regularly assess and monitor the quality of services in acute wards so staff would always recognise if a patient was deteriorating.
l Records showed the trust was failing to identify, assess and manage risks relating to the health, and safety of patients.
l Systems in place to learn from incidents that had the potential to harm people were ineffective.
Andrea Gordon, the commission’s deputy director of operations, said: “This warning sends a clear message that the hospital needs to address this issue or face further consequences.
“Our inspectors will return in the near future and if we find the required progress is not made we won’t hesitate to use our legal powers to protect the people who use this service.
“The law says these are the standards that everyone should be able to expect.
“Providers have a duty to ensure they are compliant.”
Stephen Metcalfe, Tory MP for South Basildon and East Thurrock , said: “I am very disappointed that despite all the efforts of staff and management that the commission still has a range of concerns about the service the hospital delivers.
“Despite recent improvements, it is obvious more still needs to be done.
“I have arranged to meet chairman, Ian Luder, next week to discuss what further support I can give.”
Commission inspectors carried out a follow-up inspection this month and found the trust had already made some improvements.
But further unannounced checks will be made.
ALAN Whittle, the soon-to-depart hospital chief executive, said standards were being improved, particularly in children’s A&E care.
In a statement, he said: “For the five weeks since the beginning of July, over 98 per cent of the 1,600 children attending A&E had a full, detailed clinical assessment within 15 minutes, and the remaining 2 per cent had a rapid assessment within 10 minutes of arrival.
“We are intent on maintaining this standard of service, and are recruiting additional children’s nurses for the department.”
He said other areas of concern were also being addressed, adding: “The trust takes the report very seriously, and has put in place a number of improvement actions to address the warning notices within the timescales set by the commission.
“We sent an action plan to the commission on August 14, which addresses the minor and moderate concerns.
“It was pleasing to note in the report that the commission has acknowledged significant improvements in areas that have given cause for concern in the past, such as the trust’s continued efforts to ensure the safety of its water systems.
“As always, our highest priority is providing excellent and safe care for our patients. On occasions when we do not meet the high standards that they are entitled to expect, we take immediate action to rectify this. We value the constructive assessment from the commission and the crucial role they play in helping us to continue improving our services for patients.”
Mr Whittle is leaving next month and will be succeeded by Clare Panniker.
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