Airedale NHS Foundation Trust 'needs improvement', CQC says

Airedale General Hospital Image copyright Google
Image caption The CQC said improvements were needed to make the trust, which runs Keighley's Airedale Hospital, safe

Poor critical care and staff shortages need to be tackled in hospitals run by Airedale NHS Foundation Trust, the health watchdog has said.

The trust, which runs Keighley's Airedale hospital, and Skipton and Castleberg hospitals, was rated 'requires improvement'.

The Care Quality Commission (CQC) said there were not enough doctors in the new emergency department at Airedale.

The trust said it was addressing staffing issues.

Inspectors found that although the trust provided services that were caring, effective and responsive, it needed improvements to be safe and well led.

'Too few specialists'

The report said nurse staffing levels in many clinical areas were regularly below the planned number, particularly in medical care, surgery and children's services.

It added that a new emergency department, which had been opened to meet an increase in patient numbers, did not have enough doctors to meet national guidance and there were too few specialists in critical care.

The inspection was carried out by the CQC between 15 and 18 March but inspectors also made unannounced visits.

Inspectors did however praise the work of community-based care teams in providing a "valued service" to help people remain in their homes as well as the trust's end of life care.

Bridget Fletcher, the trust's chief executive, said she was delighted the report highlighted examples of good practice but accepted there were areas that needed improving.

She said issues around staffing were being addressed and it had looked at the way it recruits nurses.

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