25th Nov, 2020

'Pair the Alex with Birmingham' - call after latest damning CQC report

Ross Crawford 14th Feb, 2020

THERE have been renewed calls for the Alexandra Hospital to be paired with a Birmingham health trust after the Care Quality Commission (CQC) slammed the state health care in the A&E departments of the Alex and Worcestershire Royal branding them ‘Inadequate’.

CQC inspectors found the situation so bad they have used urgent enforcement powers to protect patients following the inspections in December.

Inspectors found people waited too long for assessment and treatment, were treated in corridors too often and were not referred to specialists fast enough.

It is demanding that all patients arriving at the Royal’s emergency department by ambulance are assessed within 15 minutes, that they receive timely onward treatment and that waiting times for further medical procedures are cut.

CQC chief inspector of hospitals, Professor Ted Baker, said: “Some people brought by ambulance waited over three hours before being handed to trust staff.

“Overcrowding was our biggest concern in Alexandra Hospital. The layout and too few cubicles led to it becoming overwhelmed quickly, posing a risk to patient safety.

“Underpinning the issues in both departments was a lack of capacity and capability in the trust and wider health system. CQC has raised these issues since 2015, but the response so far has been insufficient.”

Redditch Borough Councillor Bill Hartnett (Lab, Church Hill) who set up the Council’s Health Commission three years ago, reiterated its findings that the Alex should pair with a Birmingham health trust.

“Worcestershire Acute Hospitals NHS Trust is simply not viable. It has been in deficit for 20 years. They’ve had countless changes in management and it’s still no better,” he said.

“Worcester should pair with Hereford, Kidderminster with the Black Country and Redditch with Birmingham as the Commission concluded.”

Redditch MP Rachel Maclean said the CQC’s report ‘made depressing reading’ and hit out at the delay in health chiefs pushing for improvements.

“As we all know, both emergency departments do not have the capacity to cope with the demands they are facing,” she said.

“Rightly, the CQC also reprimands local health bosses for being ‘insufficient’ in bringing forward improvements to alleviate the capacity issues.

“Only now are they stepping up to the mark.”

Responding to the report, the trust’s chief executive Matthew Hopkins said: “Despite the enormous efforts of our staff we know some patients are still waiting too long to get into our Emergency Departments.

“On behalf of the Trust and all of our partners, we apologise for this.

“Our ED staff are rightly praised in the report for their compassion, team work and resilience.

“We know there is more our trust has to do – and we are absolutely committed to doing it.”

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