Darent Valley Hospital faces A&E 'challenges'

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Media captionThe hospital's A&E unit deals with about 100,000 patients a year

A Kent hospital has been told by the health watchdog to improve staffing and bed management at its accident and emergency department.

The Care Quality Commission said Darent Valley Hospital's A&E department was facing "significant challenges".

Inspectors said most services at the Dartford hospital were good and patients said they were well cared for.

However, their report said improvements were needed to protect patients' privacy and dignity.

The inspectors' report said the hospital had faced an increase in emergency admissions after reductions to other local services.

The inspectors said: "While the trust was managing issues on a day-by-day basis they were not solving the key underlying problems, in particular bed management and capacity, and inappropriate attendance at A&E."

Dignity 'compromised'

They also found there were too few nurses qualified in the care of children.

"Inspectors found that the acute assessment wards were mixed sex at times which could compromise patients' dignity," the CQC report said.

The inspectors also highlighted successes at the hospital in the end-of-life unit and in its care for people with dementia.

Improvements in the maternity unit were also recognised.

Susan Acott, chief executive at the hospital, said: "We are glad to note that the report is predominantly positive, particularly about the culture of caring that exists within Darent Valley Hospital.

"It has also confirmed where we need to continue to focus our attention to improve the delivery and quality of care during times of high demand."

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