‘MUST do better’ – that’s the verdict of England’s Chief Inspector of Hospitals after the Care Quality Commission once again branded local acute hospital services ‘Inadequate’.
However inspectors said improvements had been made at Worcestershire Acute Hospitals NHS Trust and that it was moving in the right direction – but not fast enough.
The Chief Inspector of Hospitals, Professor Ted Baker, said: “Although we found some improvements had been made across the Trust, it was disappointing to find some areas had not improved and others had declined since our last inspection.
“Progress with improvements in services has not been fast or consistent enough.
“More work is needed to ensure all patients receive satisfactory care.”
One key area of concern is in Accident & Emergency where patients wait longer than in any other health trust in England.
Emergency Departments in England are expected to ensure that 95 per cent of patients are admitted, transferred or discharged within four hours of arrival.
This standard had not been met in any month at the Worcestershire Royal Hospital since November 2013.
“Our main concerns are still with urgent and emergency care, surgery and outpatients which are still rated as Inadequate overall,” said Prof Baker.
“The Trust was performing worse than the England average for patients waiting over 60 minutes before being handed over to emergency department staff.
“Not all patients were recorded as being seen by a specialist doctor despite being referred.
“We were, however, pleased with the improvements made in other areas. For example, maternity services at Worcestershire Royal Hospital are now rated as ‘Good’ overall.
“The Meadow Birth Centre won a national award in recognition of its outstanding health care environment. Feedback from women who had had their baby in the birth centre was overwhelmingly positive.
“This trust has been in special measures far too long. Further improvements are needed and must be delivered rapidly. We will continue to monitor the situation closely, taking further action as necessary.”
Michelle McKay, chief executive of WAHT said she was disappointed with the verdict of the report but added that it gave them a clear template to further improve.
“We would have hoped to see more improvements in the report than we are seeing this time around.
“However it provides clarity for us on where we can turn our attention to next.
“What we do know is that over the last six months a lot of our major services have seen improvement but given the number of services we have this has not created a shift in rating at Trust level.”