Patients waiting up to seven hours in A&E as Rotherham General Hospital rated 'requires improvement'

Rotherham General Hospital has been unable to shake off its lacklustre ‘requires Improvement’ rating after its latest visit by the healthcare watchdog.

By Alastair Ulke
Friday, 1st October 2021, 5:01 pm

Seven hour waiting times in A&E, safeguarding concerns and lapses in treating patients with dignity soured the major hospital’s assessment by the Care Quality Commission.

In fact, in a combined assessment of the hospital and Rotherham NHS Foundation Trust, inspectors listed a total of 54 issues to improve on, with 20 of them linked to its urgent care department.

It comes despite praise that the trust’s leadership has “significantly improved” since an uninspiring visit in 2019.

Sign up to our daily newsletter

Rotherham General Hospital has been served with 54 issues to address in its latest inspection by the healthcare watchdog, the CQC.

However, both the hospital and the trust remain rated as ‘requires improvement’ – the same as they received three years ago.

A spokesperson for the trust said it “welcomed the findings”.

The CQC’s head of hospital inspection Sarah Dronsfield said: “Some patients waited longer than seven hours following initial assessment [in A&E] before being seen by a doctor, with one waiting more than ten hours.

"Safeguarding referrals weren’t always made quickly, by staff who knew the patient or the circumstances around the concerns… This has been identified at previous inspections… The trust they must address it as a matter of urgency.”

Rotherham General Hospital NHS Foundation Trust was praised for improving its leadership, but it was not enough to bring the hospital out of its "requires improvement" status.

In one incident inspectors saw, a patient was also moved from one room to another “without any trousers on and no alternative covering, which is totally unacceptable”.

"Everyone should be able to expect to be treated with dignity and respect,” wrote Ms Dronsfield.

The list of urgent areas to improve includes safeguarding lapses, using systems to investigate allegations of abuse, to stop using treatment or care involves “controlling or restraining” patients, and not to provide care that means patients are “deprived of their liberty without lawful authority”.

Other spots on the record include cleanliness, health and safety assessments, nutritional needs, disability and autism awareness, and “ensuring that persons providing care have the qualifications to do so safely”.

In total, the list of areas the trust “must or should” improve on ran to 54 items.

Inspectors also noted that the trust and the hospital had been warned in November last year over not having enough suitably skilled staff. They noted on this visit that areas had improved, but there were still vacancies and gaps in the rota, particularly on the night shifts.

However, “outstanding” practices were seen in some areas. INspectors praised staff for showing “real vision and ambition”, while the trust’s custom designed integrated discharge team was regarded as “visionary”. The hospital’s maternity rating was also improved to a “good” rating.

Mrs Dronsfield wrote: “We will continue to monitor the trust closely and return to check on their progress.”

The inspection was carried out in May and June this year. The report was published in September 29.

A spokesperson for Rotherham NHS Foundation Trust said it was pleased certain services had maintained their rating despite the extra challenges of Covid.

They said: “The report also highlights a number of areas for improvement in individual departments. In response, the Trust compiled action plans which our teams are working through.

"As a trust, we welcome the findings of this report and we will use the learning from the CQC to continue to develop and grow our services to meet the needs of our patients, building on the improvements we have already made.”