CQC steps in to protect county X-ray patients - The Worcester Observer

CQC steps in to protect county X-ray patients

Worcester Editorial 25th Nov, 2016   0

THE Chief Inspector of Hospitals has used CQC’s urgent enforcement powers to protect people using radiology services at Worcestershire Acute Hospitals NHS Trust.

The Care Quality Commission has told Worcestershire Acute Hospitals NHS Trust to make urgent improvements to the quality of the healthcare provided to patients who use its radiology services.

An inspection was carried out at the service on July 27, 2016 in response to information of concern around the length of time being taken to report on routine and urgent plain film x-ray examinations and the governance processes in place to manage these backlogs. There were additional concerns relating to staffing within the department.

The CQC has taken enforcement action against the trust as a result of the findings from this inspection.

This enforcement action means the trust must take urgent action to deal with the significant number of unreported images to ensure that patients are protected from the risk of harm.

There was a significant backlog in the reporting of plain film x-rays dating back to 2013.

The length of time for the reporting of diagnostic imaging tests had been on the trust risk register since 2003 and inspectors found no evidence of a review of the situation or any clear actions to reduce the backlog.

The trust has sent the CQC a weekly report that shows the action taken in response and future actions planned.

This week, inspectors are in the trust undertaking a comprehensive inspection which will include an assessment of the progress the trust has made.

A full report of the inspection is available on CQC’s website: http://www.cqc.org.uk/location/RWP50

The Chief Inspectors of Hospitals, Professor Sir Mike Richards, said: “At the time we inspected, we were concerned that patients using Worcestershire Acute Hospitals NHS Trust’s radiology services were experiencing a poor level of care and treatment.

“The board had no oversight or knowledge of the backlog meaning we were not assured that there were suitable governance and escalation processes in place to protect patients from potential harm.

“There were not robust procedures in place to trigger the escalation of risk caused by these lengthy delays in reporting. Lessons were not being learnt from incidents and safety goals had not been set.

“The trust has submitted information to the CQC to demonstrate the progress made in clearing the backlog and improvements to governance and this will be monitored when we inspect this month.

We will then decide whether or not it is appropriate to remove the conditions placed on the services at Worcestershire Royal Hospital.”

CQC has told the trust that it must make a number of improvements including:

• The trust must take appropriate steps to resolve the backlog of radiology reporting.

• This must include a clinical review and prioritisation of the current backlog of unreported images (including those taken before January 2016); assess impact of harm to patients, and apply Duty of Candour to any patient adversely affected.

• The trust must ensure that they have robust processes to ensure any images taken are reported and risk assessed in line with trust policy.

A spokesperson for the trust said: “We apologise for any distress this has caused and can confirm that the backlog concerns a secondary review of X-rays with the majority of these X-rays having been reviewed by the requesting clinician, mostly on the same day, to determine the patient’s care plan.

“Following the CQC visit back in July to our Radiology department, we have responded promptly to the concerns raised and can confirm that the plain film backlog is now cleared.

“Our processes have been reviewed and strengthened, radiographer staffing levels are improved and we are now working to a standard of reporting all urgent X-rays within two days and all other ‘routine’ X-rays within two weeks.”

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