Essex

Health watchdog tells Colchester Hospital to improve

A hospital emergencies department
Image caption Colchester Hospital said it will draw up an action plan to comply with all essential standards

Patient safety concerns have been aired over a hospital under investigation for a high death rate.

The Care Quality Commission (CQC) has told Colchester General Hospital to improve its risk management.

The CQC also found patient dignity was not always maintained. The hospital is currently under investigation into its higher than expected mortality rate.

The hospital said it accepted the CQC's findings, but stressed that overall the hospital was "performing strongly".

The CQC found Colchester met standards for staffing, care and treatment and protecting patients and harm reduction procedures.

Monitoring

But the hospital did not meet the standards for ensuring people were treated with respect or for safe quality of care, treatment and support.

In its report, the CQC said it "could not rely on" the hospital's reports of serious incidents because there was "no monitoring system in place" to ensure all serious incidents were "identified and responded to correctly".

Inspectors also found instances where patient dignity "may have been compromised".

Julie Firth, the hospital's director of nursing and patient experience, said they would study the report and "draw up an action plan to address those few areas where we need to make further improvements so that we will comply fully with all essential standards".

NHS medical director Prof Bruce Keogh is investigating Colchester and four other trusts after they were found to have high rates for two years, according to one indicator.

Colchester Hospital said the number of deaths had been falling and were within expected levels, according to different criteria.

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