Serious concerns have been raised over nurse staffing shortages at a Yorkshire hospital trust, which has been rated as ‘inadequate’ for safety by a national health watchdog.
Care Quality Commission inspectors highlighted areas of “significant” shortages that were “impacting on patient care” during visits to Mid Yorkshire Hospitals NHS Trust, which runs hospitals in Wakefield, Dewsbury and Pontefract.
The trust, rated as ‘requires improvement’ overall, was also criticised for concerns over uncleanliness and poor infection control work in areas of emergency departments at Pinderfields and Dewsbury District Hospitals and in Dewsbury’s mortuary where concern over the way one dead patient was stored was noted by inspectors.
The trust has said it is making “healthy progress” and highlighted that its services were lauded as ‘caring’ by the CQC although improvement was still needed in the categories of effectiveness, responsiveness and being well-led.
Professor Sir Mike Richards, the CQC’s chief inspector of hospitals, also praised how the trust tackled a backlog of overdue outpatient appointments but expressed a need for improvement.
He said: “There is still work for the trust to do to ensure that people using its services consistently receive good quality care and treatment.”
The CQC report, developed from inspections in June, August and September, came as a follow-up to inspections in July 2014 that saw warning notices issued over safeguarding and the management of medicines.
It found that the trust had improved and had tried to tackle staffing issues but was having recruitment problems. The report cited an example when a patient was deemed to need one-to-one care but did not receive it and fell in an incident of “avoidable harm”.
Since the inspections, Mid Yorkshire claims it has taken on 100 nurses, with a £1.2million recruitment drive planned for 2016.
Jules Preston MBE, chair of the trust, said: “The story of this report is one of continued progress and an encouraging cultural shift. Of course we would like to see the trust performing to the very highest standards in all that we do but set against financial constraints and increasing demand we have made demonstrable achievements. Rome wasn’t built in a day.”