Health watchdog finds Rotherham Hospital 'requires improvement' as 54 per cent of nursing shifts understaffed

Bosses at Rotherham Hospital say they will continue to “develop and grow”, following a watcdog inspection which said that the hopsital “requires improvement”.

Wednesday, 29th September 2021, 2:15 pm

The Care Quality Commission (CQC), inspected services provided by The Rotherham NHS Foundation Trust, at Rotherham General Hospital in May and June.

Inspectors praised staff, but found that the medical service “did not have enough nursing and support staff to keep patients’ safe”, and said that nurse staffing levels were an “ongoing issue”, which were identified during previous inspections in 2019 and 2016.

“Staffing was a key risk for the division and had been escalated to the trust board,” the report states.

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Inspectors found that in four weeks of recent nursing rotas, 54 per cent of shifts were understaffed.

Long waiting times were reported in urgent and emergency care, with one patient waiting for ten hours to be seen by a doctor, after an initial assessment.

Inspectors also saw one patient being “transferred without any trousers on and no alternative covering” which was called “unacceptable”.

However, inspectors praised the hospitals’ leadership, which had “significantly improved” since the last inspection in 2018.

The report also praised staff at the hospital, adding that they were “focused on the needs of patients’ receiving care”, and found that staff morale was “generally good”.

“Staff supported each other well and there was good teamwork.

“Teams we spoke with were proud of the services they provided to patients’ and the work they had done during the COVID-19 pandemic to care for patients’,” the report added.

Sarah Dronsfield, CQC’s head of hospital inspection, said: “Inspectors found performance issues in urgent and emergency care which resulted in long waiting times for patients. Some patients waited longer than seven hours following initial assessment before being seen by a doctor, with one waiting more than ten hours.

“We were told by senior staff that patients were not monitored or routinely observed which increased the risk of a patient deteriorating while in the waiting room.

“We were also concerned about the inadequate processes around safeguarding in this department, that may put people at risk of avoidable harm. Safeguarding referrals weren’t always made quickly, by staff who knew the patient, or the circumstances around the concerns.

“The inadequate processes also meant the trust could have been missing opportunities to intervene to keep people safe by referring them to the local authority safeguarding team. This has been identified at previous inspections, and we have told the trust they must address it as a matter of urgency.

“Patients didn’t always have a dignified experience when they were being moved from one place to another within the hospital. We saw one patient being transferred without any trousers on and no alternative covering which is totally unacceptable.

“Last November the trust was issued with a warning notice in medical care which included issues about not having enough suitably skilled and competent staff to meet people’s needs.

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

A spokesperson for the trust said that the report “highlights a number of improvements the Trust has made in a number of areas”, adding that services had maintained their existing ratings despite the Covid-19 pandemic.

A spokesperson for the trust said: “The Rotherham NHS Foundation Trust welcomed inspectors from the Care Quality Commission in May and June 2021.

“The inspectors carried out an inspection of the Trust’s urgent and emergency care, medical care, maternity services, and services for children and young people.

“The CQC inspection report, published today, highlights a number of improvements the Trust has made in a number of areas since previous inspections, as well as acknowledging some outstanding practice across the Trust.

“We are pleased that the rating for our maternity services has improved to ‘Good’, while other services inspected have maintained their existing ratings despite the additional challenges they have faced due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

“The report also highlights a number of areas for improvement in individualdepartments and across the Trust. In response, the Trust compiled action plans which our teams are working through in order to improve patient care and experience.

“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.