‘Poor care’ continues at Romford’s Queen’s Hospital, watchdog finds

The risk of “poor care” continues to hang over patients being treated at accident and emergency and women admitted to maternity, a damning report has found.

Health regulator the Care Quality Commission (CQC) carried out a series of inspections at Queen’s Hospital, Romford, in September to take the pulse of the health trust.

It found its A&E:

• Continued to fail in meeting targets, sometimes resulting in delays in the care and treatment of patients.

• Struggled to recruit middle grade doctors and relies on using doctors from local agencies, increasing the risk of reduced medical cover.

• Exposed patients to an unnecessary and increased risk of poor care.

At the hospital’s maternity ward, inspectors found improvements have been made.

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But inspectors still had “major concerns”, finding:

• Patient care was not consistently of the expected standard.

• Women and babies were in danger of being exposed to unnecessary risk due to poor care.

• Women did not always receive the required pain relief.

• There were delays in women being transferred from the antenatal ward to the labour ward.

Labour Ilford South MP highlighted a finding included in the CQC’s report, published yesterday (Wednesday), where on one occasion the A&E at King George Hospital, Barley Lane, Goodmayes, was too busy for its doctors to be transferred to Queen’s to help the under-pressure ward.

King George’s A&E and labour ward are due to ultimately close under reconfiguration plans.

Mr Gapes said: “The report makes the point that they’re prepared to run down services at King George on the basis they can cope, when it’s clear they can’t.”

Conservative Ilford North MP Lee Scott said: “Improvements are being made but it really is pretty dismal.

“I think there has to be a long and hard look by Averil Dongworth [the hospital trust chief executive] to see if the right people are in place, because this is an unacceptable situation.”

Things are moving in the “right direction”, the woman charged with overseeing a raft of improvements at Queen’s Hospital has said.

Averil Dongworth, chief executive of Barking, Havering and Redbridge University Hospitals NHS Trust, said an action plan has been given to the Care Quality Commission (CQC) pledging improvements after the regulator found a number of failings.

She said: “I am pleased that the CQC has seen improvements in our maternity services, staffing levels and accident and emergency department.

“The CQC has said that we are now fully compliant with its staffing requirements, with enough suitably skilled, qualified and experienced staff on our wards.

“We have made major changes to both maternity and A&E over the last year and particularly in the last five months since the CQC’s inspection.

“Such wide-ranging changes need time to embed, and I accept that there is still some way to go until we are providing every patient with the high-quality care they deserve. But we are certainly moving in the right direction.

“In maternity we now have one of the best midwife-to-birth ratios in London, with 98 per cent of women receiving one-to-one care in labour.

“Clinicians are continuing to look closely at every aspect of a patient’s stay in hospital to clear any hold-ups in the system which could lead to delays in A&E.”