Lancaster hospital’s poor planning ‘could put people at risk’

POOR admissions planning at the Royal Lancaster Infirmary is harming the hospital’s emergency department, according to the care watchdog.

The Care Quality Commission (CQC) has published a report into an unannounced inspection of the A&E department in December.

The CQC had already issued a warning to the University Hospitals of Morecambe Bay NHS Foundation Trust following the inspection in relation to staffing.

The report lifts the lid on other problems in the department including problems with staff training and poor bed management.

The trust says it is working with the CQC to address the issues.

Ambulance crews had also complained vehicles were “stacked” outside the department meaning crews were waiting with patients.

On the night of the inspection on December 21, there were no surgical beds on the surgical admissions unit, but there were people waiting for beds leading to the potential for people to be kept waiting in A&E, blocking the department.

Debbie Westhead, CQC regional lead for the North West, said: “This report highlights the other areas where the trust needs to make rapid improvements.

“We were concerned at the blockages caused by the trust’s failure to plan effectively for admissions. This has knock-on effects in A&E and could put people at risk of poor care.

“The trust must tell us how it how it will make sure it complies with the essential standards. We will check on progress.”

Trust chief executive Tony Halsall said: “I am concerned that the Care Quality Commission (CQC) has identified a number of problems with these services.

“I understand that the issues identified by the CQC and Monitor recently, will have caused concern amongst local people. Our job now is to get the Trust back to providing the high quality care and services that the public deserve as quickly as possible.

“We are working with the CQC to make the changes needed to address the issues raised in this report and in their on-going investigation of emergency services at the Trust.”