The Care Quality Commission (CQC) has published two reports following unannounced focused inspections of the emergency departments at William Harvey Hospital in Ashford and the Queen Elizabeth The Queen Mother Hospital in Margate, both of which are run by East Kent Hospitals University NHS Foundation Trust.
The inspections were carried out in early March to assess whether the urgent and emergency care services were experiencing pressure due to winter demands, or issues with patient flow as a result of COVID-19.
Inspectors previously visited the emergency departments at both hospitals in March 2020 as part of a comprehensive inspection. At that time, both emergency departments were rated requires improvement overall. William Harvey Hospital was also rated inadequate in the safe domain and conditions were imposed to keep people safe. These were removed on March 29 this year, as the trust had made a number of improvements.
The emergency departments at both hospitals are rated requires improvement overall but William Harvey Hospital’s rating for safe has improved from inadequate to requires improvement.
At QEQM inspectors spoke with 20 staff across a range of disciplines including lead nurses, senior nurses, healthcare assistants, department consultants, trust grade doctors, junior doctors, matrons, ambulance crews, the care group head of nursing, and the care group clinical director.
The QEQM report says areas of improvement for the trust are:
- The trust should meet the Royal College of Emergency Medicine requirements for the number of consultants employed within the department.
- The trust should ensure they improve their four-hour performance targets.
Catherine Campbell, CQC’s head of hospital inspection, said:“I am pleased to report that there were improvements to the overall performance of the trust’s emergency departments. While we found no real areas of concern at the Queen Elizabeth The Queen Mother Hospital, we told East Kent Hospitals University NHS Foundation Trust that it should ensure it has the right number of consultants in each department at the hospital and it should improve its four-hour performance targets.
“At William Harvey Hospital, we told the trust it must ensure that the emergency department has suitable facilities in place to care for patients with mental health problems. It must also ensure that all patients are monitored for deterioration, including those waiting for triage. In addition, it should consider reviewing the layout and flow of patients within the department and improve accessibility of patient records.
“Staff should be congratulated for making the improvements we saw. We will continue to monitor both services and will return to ensure further improvements are made and fully embedded.”
The reports have been published on the CQC website.