Patients at North Cumbria hospitals 'suffered harm due to delays'

Cumberland Infirmary
Image caption Carlisle's Cumberland Infirmary was one of the hospitals visited by inspectors

Delays in treating patients in emergency wards at two north Cumbria hospitals resulted in some "suffering harm", inspectors have said.

The Care Quality Commission (CQC) raised concerns after visits to Carlisle's Cumberland Infirmary and Whitehaven's West Cumberland Hospital.

"Serious incidents" had occurred after some patients waited too long for treatment, the health watchdog said.

Hospital bosses said measures were in place to address the CQC's concerns.

Inspectors visited the hospitals in July and August and rated the trust that overseas them as requiring improvement overall.

In its report the CQC said: "We were not assured that the emergency department identified and responded quickly enough to deteriorating patients or patients with a number of conditions including sepsis, diabetic ketoacidosis (DKA) and stroke.

"There had been a number of serious incidents related to these conditions and delays in treatment.

"The trust was aware of the problems and had implemented new processes, however these were yet to be embedded."

'Significant improvements made'

Inspectors also said mental health assessments "failed to meet guidelines" with a risk that some patients were "not being cared for in a safe environment".

The report said staff were "caring", but added recruitment was a significant issue and high levels of staff sickness had risked patient safety.

A spokesman for North Cumbria University Hospitals NHS Trust said: "The report shows that we have made some significant improvements since the last inspection in 2017 despite the pressures our services are under.

"We know the pressures that these services are under not just in north Cumbria and as we move into winter we have plans in place to improve patient flow and to ensure patients are being treated in the right place at the right time."

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