Mid Yorkshire Hospitals Trust told to make improvements

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Hospitals have been told to make a string of improvements after an inspection found patients were at risk because of a staffing shortage.

Mid Yorkshire Hospitals Trust has been judged “inadequate” for whether its services were safe after an inspection by the Care Quality Commission (CQC).

The trust, which runs Pinderfields, Pontefract and Dewsbury hospitals, was rated as “good” for being caring to patients in the CQC’s report.

But there were not enough nurses to properly care for patients on some wards and staff morale was low.

The report said: “We found the staff caring for patients were compassionate and treated people with dignity and respect.

“However, due to significant staff shortages and movement of staff between areas, there was a level of frustration as staff were aware that they were not providing the quality services they aspired to provide.”

Inspectors were seriously concerned of a risk to patient safety on Gate 20, an acute respiratory care unit at Pinderfields Hospital.

Six beds had to be closed on the ward because nurses had too many patients to look after.

At Dewsbury and District Hospital, beds had been closed on Ward 5 after “an increase in patient harm being reported, complaints relating to patient care and low staffing levels”, the report said.

The ward was reduced to 16 beds, but staff had been told to take extra patients because of high demand for beds.

The CQC also criticised outpatient services at the trust after finding a backlog of 9,500 patients waiting for follow-up appointments.

The report said: “This was reflected in the high number of complaints regarding outpatients, reporting distress and frustration at delays and appointment cancellations.”

At Dewsbury hospital, inspectors were concerned about conditions in the mortuary, which was in a state of disrepair.

Staff in the mortuary were not being protected against the risk of infection.

The report said: “The mortuary was in a poor state of decorative repair, with damaged walls and broken tiles.

“This would not allow for effective and thorough cleaning to be undertaken.”

Mid Yorkshire’s overall rating was “requires improvement” after inspectors visited in July and produced nine separate reports on its services.

Bosses at the trust said around 100 nurses had been recruited since the CQC visit.

The outpatient backlog had been reduced to 3,000 and would be cleared by the end of the year.

The Dewsbury mortuary had been redecorated, Mid Yorkshire said.

Chief executive Stephen Eames said: “I’m personally very proud of our staff.

“Many are doing an absolutely outstanding job in quite challenging circumstances.”

Mid Yorkshire was praised for community and end of life care in one of the reports, which rated the service as “outstanding” for being caring.

That report said: “All of the patients and relatives we spoke with told us that care was good.

“They were treated with respect and dignity and felt involved in their care and treatment.”

Mike Richards, the CQC’s chief inspector of hospitals, said patients and relatives were generally happy with their care at Mid Yorkshire.

But he added: “I am very concerned that staff shortages in the trust’s acute hospitals are impacting on the safety and quality of patient care.”