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Medway Maritime Hospital Requires improvement

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Inspection report

Date of Inspection: 27, 28 July 2014
Date of Publication: 20 September 2014
Inspection Report published 20 September 2014 PDF | 82.66 KB


Inspection carried out on 27, 28 July 2014

During an inspection in response to concerns

On 31 December 2013 we carried out an unannounced inspection of the Emergency Department (ED) at Medway Maritime Hospital in response to information we had received from an anonymous source regarding the safety and effectiveness of the ED. We found that the service was failing to meet the national standards that people should expect to receive. As a result, we issued formal warning notices to Medway NHS Foundation Trust, telling them that they must improve in a number of areas within a specified period of time.

Medway Maritime Hospital was inspected again as part of a comprehensive inspection of Medway NHS Foundation Trust because Medway NHS Foundation Trust was rated as high risk in the CQC�s intelligent monitoring system and the trust had been placed into �special measures� in July 2013 following a Keogh review. This inspection took place between 23 and 25 April 2014 with an unannounced inspection visit on 1 May 2014.

As a result of the comprehensive inspection, overall, the hospital was rated as inadequate. We rated it good for being caring but improvement was required in providing effective care and being well-led. The safety of the hospital and being responsive to patients� needs were rated as inadequate. Whilst some core services were rated as good overall, for example critical care and services for children and young people, the emergency department and surgical services were both rated as inadequate.

We carried out a further unannounced inspection of the ED on 27 and 28 July 2014 to follow up on our findings in April and in response to us receiving information of concern from two separate sources. On 28 July 2014 we reviewed the surgery department to determine whether the trust had commenced making the necessary improvements to the service.

We were accompanied by specialist advisors in the fields of emergency medicine and surgery on 27 and 28 July respectively.

Our key findings were as follows:

The ED remained in a state of crisis with poor clinical leadership. This was despite there being an ED consultant in the department at the time of the inspection and a designated Band 7 nurse in charge. Similar to our previous inspection there was no evidence that nursing, medical and other allied health professionals were working in a joined up manner.

The ED had failed to review and optimally utilise its escalation policy within the ED to avoid the need to �stack� patients. Whilst patients were being stacked they were not undergoing regular nursing observations, and were not being seen in a timely manner by medical staff. This was not due to the department being �overrun� with patients (there were empty cubicles at the time of the inspection) but rather due to poor organisation of staff and lack of appropriate prioritisation of patients.

The ED continued to fail to ensure that children attending the department underwent initial assessment which was in line with national standards.

The Trust had failed to ensure that fire exits remained accessible and free from obstructions at all times. This was specifically related to the Vanguard unit in the ED whereby one exit was blocked with equipment trolleys and also on Victory ward where an exit was blocked with two hoists and an equipment trolley. In both areas these issues were brought to the attention of the nurse in charge at the time of the inspection.

Patients undergoing surgical procedures in the main theatre department continued to experience delays being transferred from the recovery area to ward beds.

Patients waiting for surgery continued to be cancelled for a range of reasons and the process of managing patients requiring non-elective surgery remained informal and un-structured although we were told that initiatives had been proposed to streamline the CEPOD service, commencing in September 2014.

As a result of this inspection, and considering the findings from our comprehensive inspection in April 2014, we have asked the trust to provide us with immediate assurances that necessary action will be taken to safeguard patients from the risk of harm. We have, and continue to liaise with external stakeholders including Monitor, NHS England and local clinical commissioning groups who have agreed a to work in partnership to support Medway Maritime Hospital. We will continue to monitor the performance of the trust and will report on any regulatory action we may take in the future.