A major incident has been declared at Colchester General Hospital following a surprise inspection by the Care Quality Commission (CQC).
The inspection, which took place on Wednesday (12 November) and focused on A&E and the emergency assessment unit, found that patients were being inappropriately restrained and sedated. Claims have also been made that patients were advised to go to A&E only if their condition was serious or life threatening.
A previous visit to Colchester Hospital by the CQC (in July) resulted in the hospital being considered as ‘requiring improvement.’
Since the inspection, extra staff have been brought into the hospital to help cope with demand and a decision has been taken to reschedule non urgent surgery and discharge patients in cases where it is clearly safe to do so.
Professor Mike Richards, the CQC’s chief inspector, said: “Following the inspection, we gave feedback to the trust about our safeguarding concerns so that it could take appropriate action to ensure the safety and wellbeing of its patients.”
Dr Lucy Moore, interim chief executive of Colchester Hospital University NHS Foundation Trust, said: “The Care Quality Commission raised a small number of safeguarding concerns when its team gave immediate feedback at the end of the inspection on Wednesday. The Trust takes safeguarding extremely seriously and is now investigating to find out whether our policies had been followed appropriately.”
In the wake of the inspections’ findings, the CQC has announced that a report into the incident at Colchester Hospital will appear ‘in due course’ and that further inspections will take place.