Care improvements needed at city hospital, report finds

Lincoln County Hospital needs to improve its care of patients and support of staff or risk facing serious action, says a report by the Commission of Quality Care (CQC).

At a surprise visit to five of the hospital’s wards on November 21, inspectors found a number of issues of concern, particularly in one ward.

While in many instances inspectors saw examples of good practice and generally received positive feedback from patients, the report found needs were not being consistently met in Clayton Ward.

The areas that give the CQC most concern are care and welfare of people, supporting staff, and assessing and monitoring the quality of service.

According to report, concerning examples include one patient stating they were left in their own faeces for half an hour before it was cleared.

This indicates that the patient’s dignity was not maintained or respected.

While many patients had a comprehensive care plan, others did not, meaning patients’ needs might not be fully met appropriately.

As well as patients, the report found that staff were not supported adequately, such as not having enough staff on call, or not enough support should staff want to undertake further training while on the wards too.

CQC Deputy Director of Operation Andrea Gordon said: “During our unannounced inspection, we identified a number of unacceptable failings on one ward in particular.

“Some of these related to the dignity of people, accuracy of records, and the risk this poses, as well as numbers of staff and the support and training they had been given to do their jobs.

“The major concerns we found related to Clayton Ward but it is vital that changes are made so that a consistent service is given to patients across the hospital.

“We have received an action plan from the trust detailing the improvements it intends to make and will be making further unannounced visits to check on their progress with this.

“When we inspect again we will expect the trust to be able to demonstrate it has made rapid and sustainable improvements.”

Further action CQC could take if the improvements are not demonstrated include limiting services, prosecution or even closure.

United Lincolnshire Hospital Trust have responded to the report: “We are pleased the CQC acknowledges that the majority of patients receive good standards of care at Lincoln County Hospital.

“The quality of this care is recognised repeatedly in the Commission’s report, which includes highly positive comments from patients.

“The report also highlights many examples of good practice – including strong infection control, respect for patient dignity, good quality food, good communication with patients and hourly contact with nurses.

“However, we are extremely disappointed that issues were found on one ward out of the five visited.

“This is unacceptable and the Trust fully acknowledges that there are opportunities to improve. We already acted swiftly to address concerns raised on this ward since the CQC visit in November.

“This includes recruiting replacement staff to ensure we meet patient need, greater involvement of matrons at ward level, re-training staff in the reporting and handling of incidents and sharing lessons learned and better monitoring systems to pick up issues of concern earlier.

“The CQC revisited in January and the inspectors gave very positive verbal feedback about the progress being made,” a spokesperson said.

Photo: Dominic Clark for The Lincolnite