The Care Quality Commission has told Liverpool Women's NHS Foundation Trust that it must make improvements to meet national standards of quality and safety.
This follows an unannounced inspection of Liverpool Women's Hospital which took place on 9 April 2014. The report from this inspection is published today.
The inspection was carried out to follow up on improvements required at a previous inspection.
The visiting inspection team found the Trust had made improvements to standards of care and welfare, and also in relation to supporting workers. Patients spoke positively about the care and treatment they had received. New processes had also been put in place to deliver mandatory training and free staff up from clinical duties in order to attend.
However, inspectors also found that the Trust was failing to meet national standards relating to staffing levels, complaints management and assessing and monitoring the quality of service provision.
Inspectors were concerned that staff shortages were impacting on the Trust’s ability to ensure that patients’ needs were fully met. This was particularly evident within maternity services where some women were not able to have their preferred choice of pain relief (epidural) during labour, and others experienced delays in induction of labour due to shortages of midwives.
A review of records relating to complaints found that only 64 per cent of complaints had been responded to with the timescales set by the Trust. In addition, there was limited information available for patients offering guidance on how to complain.
While inspectors saw that systems for monitoring service quality were in place, they found that these systems were not sufficiently robust to ensure all risks were identified and managed effectively. Nor did these systems serve to find themes, trends and areas for improvement.
As a result of the inspection, CQC has issued two formal warnings to the Trust, requiring improvements in the assessment and monitoring of the quality of service provision and staffing. The Trust has also been told that action is required to address shortfalls in complaints management.
Inspectors will return to the Trust, unannounced, to check that the necessary improvements have been made.
Ellen Armistead, CQC’s Deputy Chief Inspector of Hospitals in the North said:
“We have been highlighting to the trust since our initial inspection that they must take action to address the issues we identified as significant concerns. We will continue to work closely with monitor and the trust to ensure they deliver the required improvements. We will be returning to the Trust to check that they are complying with the directives within the warning notices."
For further information please contact CQC Regional Communications Officer Kirstin Hannaford on 0191 233 3629.
For further information please contact the CQC press office on 0207 448 9401 or out of hours on 07917 232 143.