Hospital missed chance to improve

A WATCHDOG’S warning has triggered a review of the way all services are run at Dewsbury and District Hospital.

Health bosses have looked at rota systems, staff training and measures to protect patients’ dignity after criticism from the Care Quality Commission (CQC).

And this week, they faced further questions from Kirklees Council’s overview and scrutiny panel for well-being and communities.

Panel members described the issues outlined in the CQC report as ‘really upsetting’.

The inspection found that the privacy and dignity of patients were not being respected on Ward Two, which treats mostly elderly people.

It said patients on Ward Two had long waits before being helped to the toilet, bed bells went unanswered for long periods of time, and staff were under too much pressure.

On Tuesday, acting director of nursing and quality Kate Harper told the panel there had leadership issues on Ward Two.

“Staff either weren’t aware of their obligations or as up-to-date with their training as they should have been as a direct consequence of leadership on the ward,” she said.

“The ward sister and charge nurse role is pivotal. That’s why I’ve been absolutely explicit with them all about the expectations. I’ve also ensured every member of staff has read the report.

“While this might have happened on Ward 2, I don’t want it to happen on anybody else’s ward.”

The panel heard two staff members from the ward had called in sick on the day of the inspection. Cover was provided, but inspectors felt the mix of staff was not right.

The unannounced inspection of several wards was to check on progress after an earlier warning over patient care in maternity services at Dewsbury.

Inspectors lifted the original warning, but issued the Ward Two warning and raised issues about a backlog with complaints.

When questioned by the panel, the Trust admitted it missed the chance to make changes across the organisation after the maternity service inspection.

Director of development Ruth Unwin said: “There wasn’t a long time elapsed between that visit and this.

“There was work going on, but this time, partly because there was a ward closure, we’ve taken the opportunity to do that.”

The panel heard Ward Two – a winter ward – was closed earlier than planned in light of the report.

The Trust has submitted an action plan to the CQC, which is expected to make another unannounced inspection soon.