THE health watchdog has highlighted issues with staffing and patient care at hospitals in central Lancashire.
The Trust which runs the Royal Preston Hospital and Chorley and South Ribble Hospital was inspected by the Care Quality Commission and has been told improvements are required.
The CQC has found Lancashire Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust provided services that were effective, caring and well led, however improvements were needed in the safety, responsiveness and leadership of some services.
The trust was inspected by CQC in July under its new regime. The inspection team spent three days at the trust and returned unannounced at a later date to the Royal Preston Hospital.
Inspectors found both hospitals were clean and well maintained, and robust infection control practices were in place. However, pressures on bed capacity within the hospital were affecting patient care and experience. Patients were often moved many times before being placed in an appropriate setting and surgical patients were also affected because operations were cancelled if inpatient beds were not available.
The CQC also said patients were often in hospital longer than they needed to be; discharge processes were slow and fragmented and delays in discharge were compounded by the lack of intermediate care provision in the local area.
Inspectors also identified staffing issues. They highlighted that there was a heavy reliance on staff working extra shifts and on bank and agency staff to maintain safe staffing levels and even thought the trust was actively recruiting nurses and had increased its staffing, it has remained an ongoing challenge.
CQC’s Chief Inspector of Hospitals, Professor Sir Mike Richards, said: “When we inspected the services run by Lancashire Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, we found that – across the board – staff were working hard to deliver compassionate care to patients. Pressures on bed capacity within the hospital meant that some patients were being cared for on wards that were not suited to meeting their needs. It had also led to patients being moved from ward to ward, sometimes during the night.”
The Trust’s chief executive Karen Partington said: “The CQC is very clear that the main reason that we have been judged as ‘requiring improvement’ is that the hospitals have been exceptionally busy for a sustained period.”