A&E delays at North Devon District Hospital criticised

North Devon District Hospital
Image caption Health inspectors praised elements of the service provided by the North Devon District NHS Trust

North Devon's main hospital must tackle long delays for patients at accident and emergency, inspectors have said.

The finding came from a report published by the Care Quality Commission (CQC) which rated the North Devon District Hospital in Barnstaple as "outstanding" overall.

The report also found community health services across north and east Devon were "good".

A spokesman for the CQC said it was generally impressed with the trust.

He said: "We found that the trust has a healthy, patient-focused culture with staff who feel well supported and valued.

"But in A&E there were significant infection control issues, and on the wards at Barnstaple we had concerns about the practice of moving patients overnight."

Inspectors also found failings in the care of patients at the end of their lives, particularly in pain management.

'Absolutely fantastic'

The Northern Devon Healthcare NHS Trust said the procedures to ensure patients do get the pain relief they need would now be followed strictly.

Alison Diamond, the chief executive of the trust, said: "To have received the first ever outstanding for medical care in an acute hospital is a real achievement.

"For our integrated community health and social care services to be rated good - but close to outstanding - is absolutely fantastic.

"We were disappointed that the overall rating had to be that we required improvement and they are areas we are taking seriously. Since July we have already worked hard to address the issues the inspectors found."

As well as the district hospital, the trust runs 17 cottage hospitals and community healthcare across north, east and mid Devon.

In a shake-up later this year, control of community services and hospitals in mid and east Devon could be taken away from the trust.

It hopes the CQC's report shows that would be the wrong move.

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