THE Alexandra Hospital has been told to improve its accident and emergency and medical services due to long ambulance handovers and a lack of paediatric nurses.

The Care Quality Commission (CQC) has published a report following an inspection of medical and urgent and emergency services at the Alexandra Hospital and Worcestershire Royal Hospital.

Following this inspection, the overall rating for urgent and emergency services at Alexandra Hospital and Worcestershire Royal Hospital has improved from ‘inadequate’ to ‘requires improvement’.

Meanwhile, medical care at Alexandra Hospital and Worcestershire Royal Hospital remains as ‘requires improvement’. 

CQC Inspectors found that managers at the Alex did not always have oversight for some of the issues within the department including the lack of paediatric nurses, and duplication of medicine charts.

The CQC report also states the medical service did not always have safe processes and systems in place to manage the prescribing, storage and monitoring of medications.

The Alex has been told it must ensure the capacity and flow in the emergency department is managed to prevent patients waiting long time and must ensure patients are not waiting a long time in ambulances outside of the department.

However, inspectors did note that the medical services staff worked well together and staff understood how to protect people from abuse.

Charlotte Rudge, CQC deputy director of operations in the Midlands, said whilst it was good to see improvements had been made since the last inspection there was still work to be done.

“The trust has started to make progress in urgent and emergency care at both hospitals where we saw leaders running services well and staff being supported to develop their skills,” said Ms Rudge.

“However, staff didn’t always complete risk assessments in a timely way for each person on arrival and there were sometimes long handover times from ambulance to the department which delayed assessment and treatment.  

“In medical care services, people told us staff were kind and caring and gave examples of being supported emotionally by staff.

“While leaders had a positive vision and strategy to improve, some staff felt leaders didn’t have oversight of the discharge lounge and ward and weren’t always responsive to concerns they raised about safety or processes.”

Responding to the Care Quality Commission (CQC) report, Matthew Hopkins, Chief Executive of Worcestershire Acute Hospitals NHS Trust, said:

 “We are pleased that the positive progress we have made to improve care for patients in our emergency departments has been recognised and our overall rating in this area has improved at both the Alexandra and Worcestershire Royal Hospitals. 

“Outstanding areas of practice were also recognised in both of our Emergency Departments, where our staff are continuing to work incredibly hard to ensure patients get the help they need, as quickly and safely as possible in the face of continuing unprecedented demand.

“Following the inspection in November, a number of immediate actions were taken to address areas of concern – for example, improving the way we safely discharge patients home, or the place they call home, from our dedicated discharge lounges.

“We continue to work closely with West Midlands Ambulance Service (WMAS) colleagues and our partners in the local health and care system to explore all possible ways of safely reducing waiting times and improving ambulance handover delays.”

Mr Hopkins said a detailed action plan will now be developed to continue the improvements.

The overall rating for Worcestershire Acute Hospitals NHS Trust remains as requires improvement.