The Care Quality Commission (CQC) has told Portsmouth Hospitals NHS Trust that it must make immediate improvements to the emergency services at Queen Alexandra Hospital, Portsmouth.
Following an inspection CQC has placed four conditions on the registration of the trust to minimise the risk of patients being exposed to harm.
CQC has told the trust that it must operate a more effective system in the emergency department at the Queen Alexandra Hospital and ensure patients are assessed, treated and seen by specialist in an appropriate and timely way to reduce the risk to patients. The Trust must stop using the large multi occupancy ambulance, known as the jumbulance to accommodate emergency patients unless there was a major incident which required extra support. The trust must ensure that there is effective leadership within the Emergency Department, with the authority to ensure decisions were made and able to take swift and appropriate action in response to problems as they occurred.
CQC has also asked the trust to provide weekly reports regarding waiting times, breaches and identified incidents.
Professor Sir Mike Richards, Chief Inspector of Hospitals said:
“People living in Portsmouth are entitled to an emergency service that is safe, effective and responsive and while I can appreciate that Portsmouth Hospitals NHS Trust has been under considerable pressure, when we inspected we found too many people waiting too long for attention in the Emergency Department.
“We found that the trust was failing to manage emergency admissions which meant that at times the local ambulance trust had a number of ambulances queuing outside the hospital. This in turn was affecting the ambulance service’s ability to respond.
“The emergency department was overcrowded, and patients were not being treated in a timely manner. Inevitably this presents a risk to their safety, which is why I have placed specific conditions upon the trust. I have no doubt this will focus the trust’s attention on the task. We will return at a later date to ensure that the required improvements have been made.”
The inspection in February followed concerns raised by NHS England, The Trust Development Authority (now NHS Improvement) and the Emergency Care Improvement Programme.
CQC will publish a full report of its findings in due course.
For media enquiries, contact John Scott, Regional Engagement Manager, on 077898 75809 or 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.