Inspectors go back to Derriford Hospital after damning report
INSPECTORS have been back to the city's main hospital following a damning report published earlier this year.
Two months ago independent health watchdog the Care Quality Commission (CQC) told Plymouth Hospitals NHS Trust, which runs Derriford Hospital, that it must "make urgent improvements to protect patients undergoing surgery" following an unannounced inspection in April.
The report, which was published in July, said Derriford Hospital was failing to protect the safety of its patients and the CQC issued a formal warning to the trust.
Inspectors also found that the hospital was failing to meet five of the nine national standards.
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The CQC requested that Derriford submit a report setting out what action it would take to meet the standards.
It has now been revealed that inspectors revisited the hospital last week to check that it has made those changes.
"We have inspected and we are now in the process of writing up our findings," a spokesman for the CQC said.
"It was an unannounced inspection which focused on the warning notice we issued in July. We want to be satisfied that the hospital has taken action to rectify the problems highlighted by the last report."
A team of inspectors spent two weeks at the hospital in April following up concerns, including eight "never events".
A "never event" is defined as a serious, largely preventable patient safety incident that should not occur if the available preventative measures have been implemented. As previously reported in The Herald, Derriford has reported eight never events since July 2012.
CQC inspectors found surgical safety checklists were being used as required. But they also found that the way in which operations were scheduled was putting staff under too much pressure.
Clinical staff said timetables were unrealistic, and did not make allowance for unexpected incidents. When the list overran, staff might cut corners to save time. Staff shortages meant that specialist theatre staff were often not available.
Adrian Hughes, regional director of CQC, said at the time of the report: "Repeated never events suggest a failure to take patient safety seriously enough."
But Ann James, chief executive of Plymouth Hospitals NHS Trust, told The Herald in July that since the issues regarding patient safety were raised by the CQC a number of actions had already been put in place to address them including the appointment of a senior surgeon and matron to oversee the running of theatres.
She said that since the inspectors visited the hospital in April the trust had "been working hard to ensure that our practices in theatres are as safe as can be and we have not had any further never events (since March 2013)."
A spokesperson for Derriford Hospital said the trust was awaiting the report from last week's inspection before making comment.
The report is due to be published within the next few weeks, the CQC said.