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  1. ITV Report

Derriford Hospital in Plymouth 'must improve' after latest inspection

University Hospitals Plymouth NHS Trust has been told to make improvements Photo: ITV News

Plymouth's hospital trust has been told to make urgent improvements following an inspection by the Care Quality Commission.

Derriford Hospital has been issued with two 'warning notices' requiring urgent action to improve the management of medicines and diagnostic services.

Overall the trust's rating remains at 'requires improvement'.

A team of inspectors visited the hospital in April and May this year, and their report is released this morning.

It is disappointing to report that since our last inspection, University Hospitals Plymouth NHS Trust has been unable to sustain the momentum and embed the improvements that we had seen on our previous inspection. As a result of this, the trust’s ratings for being effective and well led have moved from 'good' to 'requires improvement'. I am pleased to note that we did see some outstanding practice and the trust has a strong and engaged workforce, although it is concerning to find that some staff did not feel able to safely raise concerns or that these were not being addressed. We have now made it clear to the trust where it must take action to improve and have issued two warning notices to ensure these improvements do take place. We will continue to monitor those services and we will return in the near future to check progress.

– Professor Ted Baker, chief inspector of hospitals
The CQC said they saw some 'outstanding practice' during their inspection Credit: ITV News

The inspectors found there were not enough staff within Derriford's pharmacy department to run a "safe or basic service".

On the week of the inspection there were between four and six pharmacists to cover the acute hospital, made up of 900 beds.

Diagnostic services were rated as 'inadequate'. Patients were waiting too long to gain access to services and there were unacceptable delays with imaging and the reporting of results, the report says.

"There were risks from ageing equipment and an environment that did not always respect patients’ privacy and dignity," it continued. "Patients were positive about the way staff treated them, although the staff themselves felt demoralised and unable to provide the service they wanted to deliver,

Surgery and outpatients were again rated as 'good', although both failed to meet demand for appointments and procedures against national standards.

The A&E department, the largest in the South West, is too small to safely accommodate the growing patient demand, the inspectors found.

Maternity services were rated as 'requires improvement overall', with concerns around equipment and medicines management.

  • Two 'warning notices' requiring urgent action to improve management of medicines within pharmacy services and ensure there were significant improvements in the diagnostic services.
  • Within the pharmacy service, there were not enough staff to ensure a safe or basic service
  • Patients were waiting too long to gain access to services and there were unacceptable delays with imaging and the reporting of results
  • Patients were positive about the way staff treated them, although the staff themselves felt demoralised and unable to provide the service they wanted to deliver.
  • The A&E department is the largest in the South West of England, and, as the trust acknowledges, is too small to safely accommodate the growing patient demand. Inspectors recognised the strong multidisciplinary team working in this busy department.
  • The systems for managing patients with mental health needs were not consistent across the trust and so care varied. There were also a number of vacancies for medical and nursing staff across the medical wards so staffing was not always at safe levels. However, well-led in medical care remained 'good'.
The report says certain departments are under-staffed Credit: ITV News

There were vacancies for doctors and nurses and there were not enough beds to meet the demand of admissions to the hospital. While the systems to promote patient flow should have been effective, increasing demand outweighed available beds. Patients were often staying in hospital longer than they needed to because there was nowhere to send them in the wider healthcare community.

– Care Quality Commission report