Ipswich and Colchester hospitals: Improvements needed, say inspectors

Ipswich Hospital Image copyright Google
Image caption East Suffolk and North Essex NHS Foundation Trust looks after Ipswich and Colchester hospitals

The NHS trust that runs the main hospitals in Ipswich and Colchester requires improvement, a health watchdog has found.

The Care Quality Commission (CQC) inspected the newly-merged East Suffolk and North Essex NHS Foundation Trust hospitals in July 2019.

It found that "risks to patients were not always assessed, monitored and managed effectively".

The trust said it recognised there were areas for improvement.

Despite the problems, inspectors did praise the trust's leadership.

Chief inspector of hospitals, Prof Ted Baker, said: "Whilst it's encouraging that the trust has areas of outstanding practice and is rated good for being effective, caring and well-led, more progress needs to be made to change the overall rating."

Image caption CQC inspectors found that the leadership across services was "mostly effective"

He said some of the issues raised were "understandably caused by complications following the formation of a new trust" - one the biggest in the area.

Prof Baker said: "In the emergency departments staff did not always complete risk assessments for patients in a timely manner, particularly for patients with mental health needs.

"Despite these concerns, inspectors observed that the leadership across services was mostly effective."

The trust has been told it must make improvements to the following problems:

  • Staff did not always support patients who lacked capacity to make their own decisions.
  • Systems to maintain cleanliness and control infection were not being implemented effectively.
  • In critical care at Ipswich Hospital and urgent and emergency care at Colchester Hospital, outcomes and recommendations from audits were not always used to improve services.

Nick Hulme, trust chief executive, said: "We know that there are some areas we clearly need to improve. We have invested £3m in nursing and have one of the lowest vacancy rates for nurses in the country at around 8%.

"It is really pleasing to see our end of life care praised for outstanding practice and children and young people's services given an overall outstanding rating."

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