‘Serious concerns’ raised about standards at two hospitals

A HEALTH watchdog has raised serious concerns about the level of patient care and standards at Queen’s and King George hospitals.

Barking and Dagenham Local Involvement Network (LINk) carried out four visits to wards in the hospitals in Romford and Goodmayes over the past three months.

The group spoke to staff and monitored hygiene and cleanliness levels, how records were kept, and spoke to patients about the care they had received.

Their findings at Harvest A ward at Queen’s Hospital and Fern and Foxglove wards at King George have been published in a report which has been sent to Barking, Havering and Redbridge Trust (BHRT) which oversees both hospitals.

The report said one relative of a patient accused doctors of not listening to her concerns over the care provided to her mother and the inappropriate behaviour and attitudes of staff.

It said: “Doctors did not listen to the relatives’ concerns that her mother was not fit to be discharged from hospital and had complained to the LINk that she had been re-admitted to hospital three times in as many months.”

The patient died after being discharged from hospital and it took more than three months for the trust to respond to the complaints and concerns, but her issues have still not been addressed by the trust.

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Another relative said in the report: “Whilst some staff try their best and listen to you, other staff including doctors are not patient-focused and do not listen to your concerns or requests.”

The use of a red tray or lid system to help identify which patients needed help with feeding and drinking was praised, but the LINk added that a “number of patients requiring this care were not receiving it.”

Tim Baggs, LINk manager, said: “Whilst the majority of patients we spoke to during our visits were happy with the care provided it is clear that systems and procedures are not consistently followed.

“This has resulted in a number of mistakes being made and inconsistent levels and standards of patient care, safety and confidentiality being provided by BHRT.”

Director of nursing at BHRT, Deborah Wheeler, said: “Their reports have highlighted a lot of good practice, and I’m disappointed that they have chosen to focus on the areas where they feel improvements need to be made.

“We have had great success with the red tray scheme at mealtimes, and have scored highly in patient surveys with regards to privacy and dignity.

“We always respond fully to the LINks’ reports and meet with them regularly. We will continue to be open and honest about the work we are undertaking at the trust.”