Care Quality Commission Reprimands Sussex Hospital Over Emergency Department

An unannounced inspection by the Care Quality Commission (CQC) revealed that there are significant problems in a Sussex-based hospital.

The CQC visited Royal Sussex County Hospital and found that there are significant problems with the emergency department at the institution.

Overcrowding was a clear issue at the hospital, and there has been a notable lack of progress in addressing the concerns of inspectors.

Patient safety had been compromised at the hospital as patients were not assessed quickly enough, according to the Care Quality Commission.

Following its inspection of the facilities, the health regulator rated Brighton and Sussex University Hospitals Trust to be “inadequate”.

The full inspection had been carried out back in June.

In its final report, the CQC suggested that overcrowding was so advanced at the Royal Sussex County Hospital that patients were frequently lined up on trolleys or wheelchairs when cubicles were full.

This issue had been initially identified in May of last year, but despite giving the hospital time to address the problem, there had been insufficient action in order to mitigate risks related to it.

According to figures acquired by the Care Quality Commission, just over 90 per cent of patients were seen within four hours according to the latest data available.

Although this may sound like a reasonable level of performance, it compares unfavourably to the national target of 95 per cent.

Inspectors reported that staffing numbers and the skillset among staff at the hospital were not supportive of a timely assessment operation of those arriving at the emergency department.

Furthermore, the Care Quality Commission noted that the trust in charge of the Royal Sussex institution had failed to comprehensively address recommendations from previous reports.

These included guidelines issued by the Emergency Care Intensive Support Team and a CQC compliance action created in May last year.

Commenting on the issue, the Brighton and Sussex chief executive, Matthew Kershaw, admitted that problems were apparent.

“We recognise the issues raised by the CQC regarding urgent and emergency care, and we are making significant changes to how we work across the hospital, and with partner organisations, that will help us make real improvements to how we care for our patients.”

Kershaw also stated that the trust had taken measures in order to address the situation.

“Specialist surgical and medical clinicians are now working alongside the emergency department team to ensure patients are seen by the right clinical teams earlier, which will lead to quicker assessment and treatment.

“We are also improving the way we provide tests, treatments and therapies for patients on our wards, which will help patients return home quicker, freeing up space for other patients who need to be admitted to a hospital bed. We have opened a ward at Princess Royal [University] Hospital to give us additional beds and more beds will become available soon on a new community ward in Newhaven,” Kershaw asserted.


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