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CQC inspectors find significant improvements in emergency services at Southmead Hospital

27 November 2015
  • Media,
  • Hospitals

The Chief Inspector of Hospitals has found that Southmead Hospital in Bristol has made improvements which had been required in its emergency and urgent care services.

The Care Quality Commission had issued North Bristol NHS Trust with a warning notice in December last year following concerns which were found during a comprehensive inspection. The trust was told that it must take action to deal with demand in the emergency department, where patients were waiting too long to be assessed and treated.

Following the latest unannounced inspection in October, CQC has found that the flow of patients through the emergency zone was much improved. Even though the department was under pressure at the time of the re-inspection, most patients were assessed promptly on arrival and dealt with in a timely manner.

Staffing levels had been increased at times the department knew that it was likely to be busy and patients' privacy and dignity had improved.

A full report of the inspection has been published at

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

"A year ago, we found a number of concerns with the flow of patients through Southmead Hospital, with some patients waiting far too long to be admitted.

"Southmead provides a vital emergency service for the people of Bristol, South Gloucestershire and North Somerset, so I am glad to say that we have found real progress on our latest inspection, with a much-improved service for patients.

"The four-hour target for patients attending A&E to be admitted, discharged or transferred was being met most of the time, with additional staff available to cope in peak times.

"I note that there are some further areas for improvement. Our inspectors are due to return to the hospital next month, when I am sure we will check to ensure that the trust continues to make progress."


For further information please contact CQC Regional Engagement Manager John Scott on 07789 875809. 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


North Bristol NHS Trust is an acute trust that provides acute hospital and community services to a population of about 900,000 people in Bristol, South Gloucestershire and North Somerset. It also provides specialist services such as neurosciences, renal, trauma and plastics/burns to people from across the South West and in some instances nationally or internationally. The emergency zone opened in May 2014.

  • The new Brunel building at Southmead Hospital was first inspected by CQC in November 2014 under its new inspection regime. 
  • In a further unannounced inspection in May 2015, CQC found that the emergency service had made some improvement but was still rated Inadequate for being safe and responsive. 
  • The most recent inspection took place between 12 and 13 October. 
  • A further follow up inspection of North Bristol Trust is scheduled for December 2015 where the ratings will be reviewed.

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.