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CQC warns Medway NHS Foundation Trust that it must improve the care it provides to patients in the emergency department at Medway Maritime Hospital

5 March 2014
Medway Maritime Hospital
Medway NHS Foundation Trust

05 March 2014

The Care Quality Commission has formally warned Medway NHS Foundation Trust that it needs to improve the care it provides to patients in the emergency department at Medway Maritime Hospital, Gillingham.

CQC has told the trust to make urgent improvements at the hospital, in Windmill Road, following an unannounced inspection in December at which it was found to be failing to meet the national standards relating to care and welfare of people, and cleanliness and infection control. Warning notices were issued to the trust in both areas.

The inspection was carried out in response to anonymous concerns raised with CQC about the emergency department. A full report from this inspection has been published on the CQC website today.

Inspectors found that the department’s lack of capacity was severely affecting the care and treatment provided to people, especially those arriving by ambulance.

The hospital did not have enough cubicles and trolley bays to cope with the numbers of people being brought in. A mobile unit which was in use outside the emergency department was overcrowded, even though patients should not have been in this unit for more than 30 minutes before being moved into the main department, which was also overcrowded.

When inspectors arrived, 20 patients had been in the department for more than four hours. Seven of these had been in the unit for over 11 hours, and one patient had been there for in excess of 19 hours. The previous night, inspectors were told, there had been up to 17 people on trolleys in the corridors waiting to be seen, and 16 ambulances queuing to bring in more patients.

Inspectors found that people in the Clinical Decision Unit were packed together in mixed gender bays which compromised people’s privacy and dignity. While people said that the nurses and doctors were “Excellent” when they eventually saw them, inspectors found that a number of patients had not received basic care while they were waiting. One patient waited four hours for a blanket. Another had not been offered any food or drink for 18 hours.

The department was dirty in some areas. Inspectors saw cubicles with visibly dirty radiators and paintwork, stained floors and dirty wash hand basins, and blood spatters on a wall in the Vanguard unit.

Adrian Hughes, Regional Director of CQC in the South, said:

“We know that the trust is taking steps to improve its services – but during our inspection one member of staff told us that they felt ‘under siege’, while another said that they did not feel supported. There were too many patients for the capacity in the department.

“It is clear that the work taking place to make improvements has not yet translated to better patient care in the emergency department. We have referred our findings here to local commissioners, Monitor and NHS England.

“Patients are entitled to be treated in services which are safe, effective, caring, well run, and responsive to their needs. We will be going back into the trust shortly as part of our in depth hospital inspection programme to check that this is the case – and will report further in due course.”


For further information please contact the CQC press office on 0207 448 9239 or out of hours on 07917 232143.


CQC has published a full report on the website here.

Inspectors found that Medway NHS Foundation Trust was failing to meet the two standards checked on this inspection of the emergency department at Medway Maritime Hospital:

  • Care and welfare of people who use services
  • Cleanliness and infection control

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.

Last updated:
30 May 2017