Alder Hey Hospital 'requires improvement' overall, says CQC

Alder Hey Children's Hospital
Image caption A new children's hospital is under construction and set for a 2015 opening

Alder Hey Children's Hospital "requires improvement" in the areas of critical care and outpatient services, health inspectors have said.

The Care Quality Commission (CQC) found a shortage of nurses, a lack of senior doctors on the high dependency unit and outpatients had long waiting times.

Inspectors rated areas such as end-of-life care, surgery and accident and emergency as Outstanding or Good.

The hospital said improvements had been made since the inspection in May.

Alder Hey Children's Hospital's transitional services, where children move from paediatric to adult care, also required improvement, the announced inspection found.

'Effective and caring'

Louise Shepherd, chief executive of the Alder Hey Children's Hospital NHS Foundation Trust, said: "The CQC did not highlight any issues that we weren't already aware of and aiming to improve upon, some of which have now been resolved."

Inspectors found the hospital, in Liverpool, was "effective and caring", with "staff going the extra mile" but safety, responsiveness and leadership "required improvement".

The hospital "took action to rectify" staffing levels when inspectors found there were not enough senior doctors on the high dependency unit to give children one-to-one care, the CQC said.

The health watchdog said some wards were "not always adequately staffed to meet the needs of children and young people", but the hospital closed beds when staff levels were low.

Chief Inspector of Hospitals Prof Sir Mike Richards said: "I am concerned that shortages of nurses in some departments may affect patient care.

"While there have been moves to improve the recruitment process, the trust must continue to make this a priority."

Ms Shepherd said more than £1m had been invested in additional nursing staff and 37 new nurses had been appointed in August.

Their priority now, she said, was to deliver the trust's "comprehensive action plan" and make further improvements.

The CQC said the hospital was going through "significant change" with the new children's hospital being built for a 2015 opening.

Alder Hey Children's Hospital cares for more than 275,000 children from across the North West, north Wales and the Isle of Man each year.

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