Medway Maritime Hospital A&E care 'still unsafe', CQC says

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Media captionThe CQC's Edward Baker said the hospital gives them the "most concern"

A Kent hospital's A&E department is still failing to protect patients from "inappropriate or unsafe" care, a health watchdog has said.

The Care Quality Commission (CQC) said assessment of patients at Medway Maritime Hospital "remained flawed".

The CQC's deputy chief inspector of hospitals, Edward Baker, said it was the hospital that caused them the "most concern".

The hospital said it had made a number of changes since the CQC inspection.

Inspectors highlighted confusion over the movement of patients from the A&E department, which is in special measures, to wards in the hospital.

Inspectors found one patient was at the A&E department at the hospital in Gillingham for more than 12 hours, and was then assigned to a ward bed only to be told later it was no longer available.

Another patient remained in a trolley for nine hours, when policy said all patients should be transferred to a bed within six hours of arrival.

The report, following an inspection on 26 August, said: "We have taken enforcement action against Medway Maritime Hospital to protect the health, safety and welfare of people using this service."

An earlier inspection at the hospital, which was put into special measures in July 2013, found a "crisis situation" with bloodstained walls, overcrowding and potentially life-threatening unsafe practices.

'Lack of leadership'

The CQC wrote to Medway NHS Foundation Trust in July, resulting in an action plan being devised.

In its latest report, the commission said: "The pace of change remained slow; the ability to introduce change was hindered by the continued lack of leadership within the department.

Image caption The hospital trust has been in special measures since July 2013

"However, we were reassured that the trust was in the process of appointing experienced nurses to lead the workforce as well as commissioning external specialists in emergency medicine to help improve the safety of the department.

"We have judged that the trust continues to fail to ensure that patients are protected from the risks of receiving care or treatment that is inappropriate or unsafe."

The trust said: "Two new emergency care consultants took post in September and October, there is now a dedicated head of nursing in the department and three new emergency care matrons will all be in post by 2 December."

A spokesman said work was under way to "improve patient flow" and "alleviate congestion in the emergency department".

A new children's emergency department is due to open in December.

Dr Phillip Barnes, acting trust chief executive, said: "We realise the challenges before us and are fully committed to providing the high quality of care our patients deserve."

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