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Chief Inspector of Hospitals is satisfied with urgent improvements to Portsmouth Hospitals NHS Trust but further improvement is required

6 August 2015
  • Media,
  • Hospitals

England’s Chief Inspector of Hospitals has said that he is satisfied that urgent improvements have been made at Portsmouth Hospitals NHS Trust Accident and Emergency wards after a follow up inspection by the Care Quality Commission. However, the trust still has more work to do.

The team of inspectors and specialists visited Queen Alexandra Hospital on 25 April 2015 to check that the trust had taken action to address the CQC’s most urgent concerns. Full reports including ratings for all of the provider’s core services are available at:

Following the initial inspection in February, CQC issued two warning notices to the trust requiring immediate improvements to be made in the Emergency Department to the initial assessment of patients, the safe delivery of care and treatment, and the management of emergency care.

Inspectors returned on 25 April and recognised that improvements had been made and that the warning notices had been met.

The Chief Inspector of Hospitals, Professor Sir Mike Richards, said:

"At our last inspection our most urgent concern at Portsmouth Hospitals NHS Trust was the risk to patients arriving by ambulance. We took proportionate action to protect patients and subsequently Portsmouth Hospitals NHS Trust has worked to address our most serious concerns.

“While I note that there have been some significant improvements, some patients are still having to wait too long to be admitted and I expect the trust to address this as a priority. Our inspectors will return in due course to check progress in this area.”

On the latest inspection, CQC found that patients arriving by ambulance were being assessed within 15 minutes by a nurse. Staffing levels had improved taking into account the increase in the number of patients and the need for skilled and experienced staff to be present in the department overnight. Nurses were now allocated to the corridor areas in the Emergency Department organising activity to avoid the disorder that inspectors had previously seen.

But there were still delays for patients waiting to see specialist doctors and be admitted even at times when beds were available in the hospital. These delays in admissions meant that the department was often full and posed a risk to patients. Patients brought in by ambulance continued to wait in a corridor, some for over an hour.

Although there had been improvement in staffing levels, patients waiting in corridors were not always being observed and monitored when staff were on breaks. Nurse staffing levels had not been assessed for the ambulance area.

The inspection reports highlights four areas for improvement, including:

  • Patients must be appropriately monitored at all times by sufficient numbers of staff in the Emergency Department to ensure they receive appropriate care and treatment.
  • Patients in the ambulance streaming area must have access to sufficient essential equipment and have a means of calling for help when necessary.
  • There must be a risk assessment of the ambulance streaming area. The new referral and admission process must work effectively for the timely assessment and admission of patients and to prevent overcrowding in the ED.

CQC inspectors will continue to monitor the trust, returning unannounced in the future to check that the required improvements have been made.


For further information please contact CQC Regional Engagement Manager John Scott on 07789 875809 or, for media enquiries, 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 here. (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 61 61 61.

Last updated:
29 May 2017

Notes to editors


The Chief Inspector of Hospitals, Professor Sir Mike Richards, is leading significantly larger inspection teams than before, headed up by clinical and other experts including trained members of the public. 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?


The Care Quality Commission has already presented its findings to a local Quality Summit, including NHS commissioners, providers, regulators and other public bodies. The purpose of the Quality Summit is to develop a plan of action and recommendations based on the inspection team’s findings. 


Since 1 April, providers have been required to display their ratings on their premises and on their websites so that the public can see their rating quickly and easily. For further information on the requirement for providers to prominently display their CQC ratings, please visit:


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.