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04.02.19

Children ‘at risk of harm’ at under-fire United Lincolnshire trust’s general hospital

Children at the Pilgrim Hospital are being “placed at risk of harm” after inspectors rated the general hospital as ‘inadequate’ just months after taking urgent action to prevent patients being exposed to harm.

The CQC visited the Pilgrim Hospital in Boston, Lincolnshire to inspect the progress made by the trust following a damning report on the hospital in November, but both the hospital and trust remain under heavy scrutiny.

The hospital is run by the United Lincolnshire Hospitals NHS Trust (ULHT) which has faced fierce criticism over fears for patient safety. In December, health unions passed a vote of no-confidence in NHS bosses at the trust’s four hospitals.

In the newest report, inspectors found children at Pilgrim Hospital were being placed at risk of harm as they were not being cared for by nursing staff with necessary competencies to provide effective care.

There was no oversight of new arrivals at the hospital, and patients arriving by ambulance were not always clinically assessed, which poses a risk to patients by basing treatment off of outdated information. Additionally, long waiting times for these patients created the “potential to deteriorate.”

Inspectors said there was an “unreliable and inconsistent system in place to identify critically ill patients” presented to the hospital, and despite increased triage staffing levels, patients were often not assessed in a timely way.

Amanda Stanford, deputy chief inspector of hospitals for the CQC, said: “There remain a number of significant concerns with the hospital’s urgent and emergency care.

“Although triage staffing levels had increased, there were still issues around the early detection of critically ill patients and we saw children being triaged by nurses who didn’t have additional skills in paediatrics.”

She said the CQC had found some signs of improvement but urged the trust to take “further action” to address its major concerns.

The trust was placed into special measures following an inspection in April 2017 in an attempt to prevent standards falling any further, and was further criticised by the CQC in September over a sluggish pace of improvement.

The Keogh Review trust has currently climbed to a ‘requires improvement’ rating, but Pilgrim Hospital remains at ‘inadequate’ and ‘imposing conditions’ remain – meaning the provider must act under conditions set by the CQC.

Image credit - Haydn West/PA Archive/PA Images

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