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Chief Inspector of Hospitals calls for improvements at Arrowe Park Hospital

14 August 2015
Arrowe Park Hospital
  • Media,
  • Hospitals

England's Chief Inspector of Hospitals, Professor Sir Mike Richards, has called for improvements in the quality of care provided at Arrowe Park Hospital in the Wirral following concerns which were raised to the Care Quality Commission (CQC)

CQC undertook an unannounced inspection at the hospital in May 2015 following concerns about the hospital’s ability to deal with increased inpatient demand. The inspection focused on the safety of services provided on three medical wards, the theatre recovery area, the medical assessment unit and the surgical assessment unit.

The full report from the responsive inspection of Arrowe Park Hospital has been published on our website.

The inspectors found weaknesses in how the trust managed increases in patient demand, so pressures on bed capacity meant that patients were being treated in areas with inappropriate equipment or facilities to meet their needs.

Although the hospital was clean and inspectors observed good infection control practices, there were a number of urgent maintenance issues that needed to be addressed.

In addition, inspectors identified concerns regarding nurse staffing levels and skill mix. Some wards were not suitably staffed to be able to best meet the care needs of patients. The trust is actively recruiting nurses to help fill the number of vacancies; however this remained an ongoing challenge.

Following the inspection, CQC has told Wirral University Teaching Hospital NHS Foundation Trust that it must make the following improvements:

  • The trust must ensure that there are sufficient numbers of suitably qualified and experienced staff in all areas of the hospital to ensure patient needs are consistently met.
  • The trust must take action to ensure that all procedures to identify safe care are completed consistently and learning identified.

Ellen Armistead, CQC’s Deputy Chief Inspector of Hospitals, said:

“Before this inspection, we had been told of concerns with regard to the theatre recovery area being used when there was a shortage of inpatient beds and insufficient staffing levels to meet patient needs.

“While our inspectors found that care was person-centred and staff treated patients with dignity and respect, they also raised significant concern regarding the procedures in place for ensuring the safety of patients during periods of increased demand.

“Patient safety is paramount and the trust must take action to ensure that areas used to treat and care for patients have adequate facilities. The trust must also continue its work to tackle the shortage of nursing staff and improve services so that they meet the standards people have a right to expect.

“We will be returning to check that improvements have been made at the hospital as part of our scheduled comprehensive inspection of all services provided by the trust.”

A team of inspectors will be visiting Wirral University Teaching Hospital NHS Foundation Trust in September as part of CQC’s comprehensive inspection programme of acute trusts.


For further information please contact Kirstin Hannaford, Regional Engagement Manager on 0191 233 3629.

For media enquiries about the Care Quality Commission, please call the press office on 020 7448 9401 during office hours. Journalists wishing to speak to the press office outside of office hours can find out how to contact the team (please note: the duty press officer is unable to advise members of the public on health or social care matters). For general enquiries, please call 03000 616161.

Last updated:
29 May 2017

Notes to editors

The Chief Inspector of Hospitals, Professor Sir Mike Richards, is leading inspection teams that include CQC inspectors, doctors, nurses, managers and experts by experience (people with personal experience of using or caring for someone who uses the type of services we were inspecting). By March 2016, CQC will have inspected all acute NHS Trusts in England. Whenever CQC inspects it will always ask the following five questions of every service: Is it safe? Is it effective? Is it caring? Is it responsive to people’s needs? Is it well-led?


About the Care Quality Commission

The Care Quality Commission (CQC) is the independent regulator of health and social care in England.

We make sure health and social care services provide people with safe, effective, compassionate, high-quality care and we encourage care services to improve.

We monitor, inspect and regulate services to make sure they meet fundamental standards of quality and safety and we publish what we find to help people choose care.