Hampshire & Isle of Wight

Portsmouth hospital emergency department told to improve

Ambulances at QA
Image caption As many as a third of Hampshire's on-duty ambulances have been left waiting during peak times

Portsmouth's Queen Alexandra Hospital has been ordered to make immediate improvements to its emergency services.

The Care Quality Commission has imposed four conditions on Portsmouth Hospitals NHS Trust to "minimise the risk of patients being exposed to harm".

It follows an inspection in February when inspectors found an overcrowded A&E department and queuing ambulances.

The trust said it was complying with the requirements and had appointed a new emergency care executive director.

It said it had also made changes to the emergency department since the Care Quality Commission (CQC) inspection in February.

Chief inspector of hospitals Prof Sir Mike Richards said: "We found that the trust was failing to manage emergency admissions which meant that, at times, the local ambulance trust had a number of ambulances queuing outside the hospital. This, in turn, was affecting the ambulance service's ability to respond.

"The emergency department was overcrowded, and patients were not being treated in a timely manner. Inevitably, this presents a risk to their safety which is why I have placed specific conditions upon the trust."

Image caption A paramedic said some patients waited more than three hours in ambulances during one of the busier nights in February

The conditions:

  • The trust must operate a more effective system and ensure patients are assessed, treated and seen by a specialist in an appropriate and timely way
  • The trust must stop using the large multi-occupancy ambulance to accommodate emergency patients unless there is a major incident
  • The trust must ensure there is effective leadership within the emergency department, with the authority to take swift action in response to problems as they occur
  • The trust must also provide weekly reports regarding waiting times, breaches and identified incidents

A trust spokeswoman said: "The trust is complying with all of these requirements, it has appointed a new executive director for the emergency care pathway and it has made further changes in the emergency department since the CQC inspection."

The inspection followed concerns raised by NHS England, NHS Improvement and the Emergency Care Improvement Programme.

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