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CQC calls for improvements to emergency and medical care at Queen Elizabeth Hospital, Woolwich

3 November 2016
Queen Elizabeth Hospital
  • Media,
  • Hospitals

England’s Chief Inspector of Hospitals has told the Queen Elizabeth Hospital at Woolwich that it must make improvements to the emergency department and medical care. Both are rated Requires Improvement.

The Care Quality Commission undertook an unannounced inspection in June 2016 at the hospital in south east London because of concerns raised by patients and a high number of safeguarding incidents.

Queen Elizabeth Hospital is part of Lewisham and Greenwich NHS Trust. It provides hospital services for people living in Greenwich, Bexley and other neighbouring boroughs.

During a comprehensive inspection in February 2014, CQC rated the trust as Requires Improvement overall, with the QEH emergency department being rated as Inadequate and medical care as Requires Improvement.

In June 2016, inspectors found that the emergency department had made some progress since the last inspection including an improved pathway to the urgent care centre, opening a clinical decision unit and a frailty assessment unit.

However, inspectors found some aspects of the service had not improved. Rapid assessment and treatment was not being provided for all patients. Patients’ vital signs were not always monitored. Patients were being cared for in chairs (and in public corridors during this inspection), and were experiencing long waiting times in the emergency department.

The trust had introduced some initiatives to help improve patient flow including a discharge lounge but, on the first two days of the inspection, the discharge lounge was being used as overflow area for patients who were unwell rather than those who were ready for discharge.

On the medical wards, we observed some patients being treated with a lack of kindness. We were told by patients and staff of some instances of poor personal care being given and support for patients with dementia was limited.

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

“Queen Elizabeth Hospital had made some progress since the last inspection in 2014 but other changes had not been embedded.

“During our inspection we witnessed long waiting times in the emergency department. The emergency department was full and patients were being cared for in public corridors and transferred to areas that did not meet their needs.

“We observed some instances of poor care on the medical wards. The leadership in medical services was variable. Some of the problems we found were not being adequately managed.

“It is disappointing that these shortfalls remain. The trust needs to come back with a plan which addresses these issues in full.  We will continue to monitor the trust and we will return at some time in the future to check on their progress.”

Read the full report.


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Last updated:
29 May 2017

Notes to editors

Queen Elizabeth Hospital provides a full range of adult, elderly and children's services across medical and surgical disciplines and has just under 500 beds. In 2015/16 150,219 patients attended the emergency department and in 2015 medical services treated 30,525 patients.

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.