'Catalogue of failings' at Whipps Cross University Hospital

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Media captionWhipps Cross Hospital was found to have "unsafe and dirty conditions"

A north-east London hospital has been found to have a "catalogue of failings" during unannounced inspections by the Care Quality Commission (CQC).

Whipps Cross University Hospital failed in cleanliness and infection control, equipment safety and availability and supporting staff.

In one incident a blood-stained bowl was found in a maternity delivery room.

Barts Health NHS Trust said it was "extremely sorry for the failings" and had made "robust action plans".

Blood-stained gown

During the unannounced visits in May and June, inspectors visited the emergency, elderly, maternity and surgery departments and concluded that overall it was failing to meet 10 of the 16 national standards of quality and safety.

It issued three enforcement notices which require improvements by the end of August, two of which were given to the maternity department over cleanliness and infection control.

The CQC also warned about the safety of equipment after staff failed to verify whether resuscitation equipment had been regularly checked or faults reported.

The commission said that although there had been no maternal deaths in the last year there were some unexpected admissions to neonatal intensive care which were related to a failure by midwives to carry out correct observations.

It added that compassion also needed to be addressed after inspectors saw one woman, in a blood-stained gown, complaining of being in pain and sarcastically responded to before being given the wrong formula milk.

'Unsafe and dirty'

An enforcement notice was also issued to elderly care after it was found the hospital did not "appropriately support" staff to enable them to deliver care and nurses did not always receive appropriate training, supervision and appraisal.

It also raised concerns about food and water being placed out of reach of patients.

Matthew Trainer from the CQC said: "We found that, in places, the hospital was unsafe and dirty, and that staff didn't always show patients the compassion that people deserve.

"Our inspectors will return unannounced in the near future to check that it has made the changes required by the warning notices."

Barts Health NHS Trust's chief executive, Peter Morris, said: "We have taken immediate action to rectify the failures to ensure we meet standards across the hospital at all times."

The trust added that its Great Expectations maternity programme had been introduced to support training and care standards and, in older people's services, all 500 staff were following an Excellence in Older People's Care programme.

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