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East Kent Hospitals Trust: Covid-19 practice failings revealed by inspection

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image captionThe William Harvey Hospital was inspected in August

Inspectors have demanded improvements from a hospital after a report highlighted a number of failings over Covid-19 precautions.

The Care Quality Commission inspected the emergency department and medical wards at the William Harvey Hospital in Ashford, Kent, on 11 August.

Staff were seen to be wearing masks incorrectly, not using hand sanitiser and not adhering to social distancing.

The East Kent Hospitals Trust said it acted immediately to address concerns.

Inspection teams visited a ward where patients showed symptoms and were awaiting test results as well as a ward caring for patients who had Covid-19.

A ward for patients without the virus and a fourth ward where there had been an outbreak of Covid-19 were also inspected.

The CQC said it took urgent enforcement action, telling the trust to ensure there was an "effective system to manage the health and safety of people using the hospital".

'Extremely disappointing'

The report revealed staff did not always wear PPE or face coverings correctly in medical wards. One member of the nursing team was seen to be wearing a mask incorrectly in the ward where there had been an outbreak of the coronavirus.

At least seven members of staff were seen entering and leaving the ward caring for people who were suspected of having Covid-19 without adhering to hand hygiene practices.

Staff did not always remove PPE upon entering a new clinical area of the emergency department. Nor did they always put on or take off their PPE when entering and leaving patient bays.

While equipment was said to have been cleaned on the day, inspectors found this was not always recorded.

The report also detailed that five members of staff were seen in one room that was too small to enable the practised social distancing in that space.

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Inspectors found staff and patients did not always have access to hand gel or hand washing facilities in the emergency department. It was also found that sanitiser bottles at the entrances to the assessment centre were empty.

Ted Baker, Chief Inspector of Hospitals, said: "It is extremely disappointing to find that despite being warned about their hygiene, not enough work had been carried out to address infection control issues within the trust.

"It is particularly concerning during a time when infection control could never have been more important.

"Following the inspection, we reported our findings to the trust so its leaders know what they must address. We used our enforcement powers by imposing conditions on the trust's registration, to ensure people are safe."

East Kent Hospitals Trust chief executive Susan Acott said: "In August, a CQC inspection team visited the William Harvey Hospital and saw examples of practice which falls short of the high standard we all want to provide for our patients.

"Keeping our patients and staff safe is our priority. We have responded to the CQC with the actions we are taking and we are committed to the care and safety of every patient in our hospitals."

"Rapid, long-lasting improvements are being led by our new, highly experienced, Interim Director of Infection, Prevention and Control - Dr Sara Mumford."

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