Beds, Herts & Bucks

Hertfordshire hospitals trust still needs to improve

Watford General Hospital Image copyright West Hertfordshire Hospitals NHS Trust
Image caption Watford General Hospital's urgent and emergency care has improved

A Hertfordshire hospital trust, previously rated "inadequate", still needs to improve, according to a Care Quality Commission (CQC) report.

West Hertfordshire Hospitals NHS Trust, which runs Watford General, Hemel Hempstead Urgent Treatment Centre and St Albans City Hospital, has been rated as "requires improvement" overall.

The rating remains unchanged from the trust's last inspection in 2017.

A trust spokeswoman recognised its "improvement journey has a long path".

The trust was rated "inadequate" in 2015, put in special measures by the CQC and then taken out after the 2017 inspection rated it as "requires improvement".

The latest report from an inspection in October and November 2018 found a number of improvements were needed particularly at St Albans City Hospital's Minor Injuries Unit, where there was still no formal process for clinically assessing patients, and some had to wait up to three hours before being seen.

Inspectors found the Urgent Treatment Centre in Hemel Hempstead "was not implementing robust infection control measures" and "records were not always stored appropriately".

'Significant improvements'

Watford General Hospital's urgent and emergency care had improved from its previous rating of "inadequate" and is now rated as "requires improvement" with inspectors noting a "strong, supportive and visible leadership".

The trust has also been rated "good" for whether its services are caring.

Some areas of outstanding practice were also highlighted particularly amongst bereavement care staff and in the dementia assessment unit and the stroke unit.

The CQC's chief inspector of hospitals, Professor Ted Baker, said: "The trust board knows what it must do to ensure all the necessary improvements are made."

The trust's acting chief executive, Helen Brown, said: "I fully recognise that our improvement journey has a long path.

"Naturally, we're hugely disappointed with the ratings for our Minor Injuries Unit and the Urgent Treatment Centre and our teams are working hard to make improvements.

"Local residents should still feel confident they will receive appropriate care from the two services."

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