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Urgent and emergency care at Aintree Hospital is downgraded

Urgent and Emergency Care Department at Aintree Hospital 'requires improvement' Credit: PA

Inspectors have downgraded the Urgent and Emergency Care Department at Aintree Hospital in Liverpool and ordered it makes improvements.

The unit has lost its "Good overall' rating, and has now has been labeled as "Requires Improvement"

But the Trust says it's already responding to the safety concerns.. and in the meantime the hospital's overall rating remains as "Good":-

We were concerned upon inspection, that the processes in place for recognising and escalating the care of deteriorating patients were not always followed which put people at risk. We reported these urgent concerns to senior staff at the trust at the time of inspection and actions were put in place to address this issue. We have been monitoring these actions regularly to make sure improvements were being made.

We also saw that nurse staffing levels were lower than the safe recommended amount. We do acknowledge that the trust was taking action to address the nurse vacancy rate but it remained evident during our visit that the wards were not always staffed as they should be.

– The Chief Inspector of Hospitals, Professor Sir Mike Richards

We are aware of the pressures on our nursing staff who look after patients admitted via A&E and, at the time of the inspection, we had some gaps in nursing cover arising from staff sickness and vacancies. However, we have plans in place to do all we can to ensure we continue to provide high quality care – these plans include deploying experienced staff to the areas which need them most and recruiting new nurses to Aintree, both temporary and permanent.

We have focussed on the accurate recording and calculation of MEWS, which determines the degree of illness of a patient, and recent audits have demonstrated improvement. In terms of sepsis management - we are in fact the best performing hospital in the North West for this, despite not meeting our aspirational target. We continue to work on this under the Advancing Quality programme to ensure we improve on this performance.

We have a new approach to mandatory training which includes the use of block training sessions, and this has seen an increase in compliance.

Aintree aims to provide the highest quality health care and this report helps us to achieve that vision.

– Dr Steve Evans, Medical Director

The key findings included the following:

CQC found that staff were using a national Modified Early Warning Score (MEWS) tool to help monitor a patient's condition and identify signs of deterioration in their condition. However inspectors found that this was not being used correctly in line with the trust’s own procedures and caused concern that this may not appropriately identify patients who were deteriorating.

Nurse staffing levels were not always filled to the safe staffing establishment, and staffing was below this threshold on the surgical assessment unit, ward 31 and in the accident and emergency department at the time of the inspection. There were periods of understaffing over a number of days prior and post inspection and there was evidence that staff had raised staffing concerns using the incident reporting process.

Inspectors found there was poor staff compliance with the trust’s mandatory training target. The trust had a plan in place to reach 85% compliance by March 2017. However, patients could be at risk if staff were not adequately trained in a timely manner.

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Dog owners urged to update microchip details

Warning: Keep your dog's microchip details up to date Credit: PA

Dog owners are being urged to make sure they keep their dog's microchip details up to date. There were more than five thousand stray dogs in the North West over the last year. Dogs Trust say up to 7% of them will never be reunited with their owners because of out-of-date details.

5,000 strays a year in North West Credit: PA

Mothers don't get enough credit for juggling work and family life - Paralympian Dame Sarah Storey

Dame Sarah Storey with daughter Louisa and one of 14 gold medals Credit: PA

Paralympian Dame Sarah Storey has said mothers do not get "nearly enough credit" for the work they do when it comes to balancing their working and personal lives.

The British road and track racing cyclist, 38, became Britain's most successful female Paralympic athlete at the Rio games.

She won three gold medals and brought her total tally to 14, and has explained how she combines her tough training with being a mother.

The mother-of-one, who welcomed daughter Louisa in 2013, told Hello! Magazine her husband Barney "does the lion's share of the childcare" while she trains, and that they are a "team".

Storey admitted her triple gold medal win at the Paralympics earlier this month "hasn't sunk in yet" and that she keeps her impressive haul "at a secret location".

Referring to her husband - who has won three Paralympic gold medals of his own as a sighted pilot for blind or partially sighted athletes in tandem track cycling events: "We don't have (our medals) on display at home."

The sports star discussed growing up with a disability, as she was born without a functioning left hand, but said that "nobody treated me any differently".

"Every child has to learn how to walk, play and catch a ball. You might have a different technique but you are still learning the same skills."

I don't think mums get nearly enough credit for the balancing act they do, especially now when we are expected to do everything all the time. I'm an athlete mum. But most mums are athletes and they don't realise. We are all athletes in different ways.

– Dame Sarah Storey

Eight year old Leo leads the world with his remarkable piano playing

The extraordinary musical talent of eight year old Leo Bailey Yang whose piano playing will take your breath away.

The young man from Manchester is the youngest musician ever to be awarded a diploma with distinction in piano.

And he's three years younger than the previous world record holder. Our correspondent Mel Barham went to meet him.....

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Alton Tower operators prepare for massive fine

The collision on the Smiler rollercoaster was described as like a family car crashing at 90 miles an hour in court.

Five passengers suffered life-changing injuries on th ride at Alton Towers theme park last summer.

Vicky Balch from Leyland, who was 19 at the time, was one of two young women who each had to have a leg amputated.

Today, the Alton Towers operator appeared before the crown court in Stafford for sentencing. Our correspondent Elaine Willcox sent this from court:

Merlin is 'a good organisation that made a serious failure'

Credit: CCTV footage

Alton Towers, barrister Simon Antrobus said the company's top executives had accepted responsibility for the crash from the day it happened, and had apologised.

He added: "(The company) accepts its responsibility that this should never have happened and accepted that the accident was attributable to failures that, while they were never intended, would have been avoidable with greater care."

Describing Merlin as "the most reputable operator in this field", he added that the firm employed 8,000 staff across 11 different sites - with more than 120 individual rides - serving 16 million visitors a year.

Mr Antrobus said: "It's a good organisation that made a serious failure, but is one that is of otherwise good character."

Asked by the judge if anyone had resigned as a result of the crash, Mr Antrobus replied: "No."

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