Royal Sussex: Brighton A&E pressure hospital must improve

  • 5 June 2013
  • From the section Sussex
Royal Sussex County Hospital
Image caption Inspectors visited the Royal Sussex County Hospital to follow up concerns over emergency care

A hospital that saw sustained pressure on A&E this winter has been told by inspectors to improve.

Care Quality Commission inspectors went to the Royal Sussex County Hospital to follow up concerns over emergency care.

They found some patients could not wash and had no privacy, a lack of available beds affected patient welfare, and the hospital had not anticipated pressures.

Brighton and Sussex University Hospitals NHS Trust said it had taken action but more work needed to be done.

A report by inspectors said problems with privacy and dignity followed overcrowding because of the hospital's inability to move patients out of the emergency department to a ward bed.

New arrivals were being held in corridors, entrance halls, rooms and wards not designed for long stays.

A day surgery unit not set up for overnight stays held four men who had to share a toilet and sink, and four women who shared another, but there were no shower or washing facilities.

'Bedpan in plaster room'

One patient said: "It was dreadful to not have a proper wash for three days."

Staff were unable to turn off or dim the lights at night, and it was difficult for patients to sleep, inspectors heard.

Patients on corridors and in an ambulance area were not taken to a toilet, but had to use a bedpan in the "plaster room" which was cluttered, not clean and not designed for the purpose.

Inspectors found some elderly dementia patients were in hospital for longer than clinically necessary, which negatively affected their health and welfare.

Some frail, elderly patients did not get the support they needed to maintain their mobility.

Inspectors found the hospital had enough staff, but workers were not receiving the appraisals and training needed.

In a statement, the NHS trust said: "It was widely reported that over the winter our emergency department came under a sustained period of pressure."

It said this meant systems did not work as effectively as the trust wanted and some patients waited in the emergency department for longer than acceptable.

The trust said it asked the Department of Health to help it produce an action plan and saw significant improvements from the end of April.

During May it had consistently met the four-hour target to assess, treat and discharge or admit patients coming into A&E, it said.

The hospital was told to improve in four areas: respecting and involving people who use services, care and welfare of people who use services, supporting workers and assessing and monitoring the quality of service provision.

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