Poor infection control
Staff shortages and poor infection control caused concern among Care Quality Commission (CQC) inspectors at Middlesbrough’s James Cook University Hospital and Northallerton’s Friarage Hospital.
During their inspection in January and February, the CQC found that “harm occurred” due to a shortage of critical care beds. Their report noted that “shortages and their impact” were not being reported and “infection control breaches were due to the service not being able to isolate patients with an infection.”
The CQC also “found a lack of assurance that nurse staffing levels were appropriate to safely care for patients.”
Professor Stephen Bonner, Clinical Director and Research Director of Critical Care for the Trust, advised: “This was about low staffing, and nurse staffing should have been flagged up.” He added that “for about 12 months we were running with fewer nurses on each shift than we should have been.”
Chief Executive, Siobhan McArdle said “Within the next three weeks, we will have finalised a comprehensive action plan to address all outstanding issues.”
Professor Bonner is looking forward to the CQC revisiting the South Tees Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, as there have been noted developments in staff recruitment following major endeavours to improve in this area.
Charlotte Measures, partner at Medical Accident Group, said: “Patients should never have been put in a position where they were made to suffer and it is unacceptable that they were caused harm due to staff shortages.”
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