Kent Hospital ordered to take action for failing to comply with Covid-19 rules

A hospital has been ordered to make "significant improvements" after ward and emergency department staff were found failing to comply with Covid-19 rules. Credit: ITV News Meridian

A hospital has been ordered to make "significant improvements" after ward and emergency department staff were found failing to comply with Covid-19 rules.

The William Harvey Hospital, run by East Kent Hospitals University NHS Foundation Trust, was inspected by the Care Quality Commission (CQC) on August 11.

The inspectors ordered "urgent enforcement action" by requiring that the emergency department was risk-assessed for social distancing and coronavirus risks.

They found that staff did not always wear personal protective equipment (PPE) correctly in medical wards as well as on the Covid-19 ward, with a member of the nursing team also seen incorrectly wearing a mask on a ward which had seen an outbreak of the disease.

They also found that staff did not always use alcohol hand gel on entering and leaving wards and at least seven members of staff were seen entering and leaving a ward caring for patients with suspected Covid-19 without washing their hands properly.

The emergency department staff also did not always have access to hand gel or hand washing facilities, with hand sanitiser dispensers remaining empty at both entrances even after the inspectors had raised the issue.

Inspectors also found there was an inconsistent approach to triaging patients with Covid-19 symptoms in the emergency department.

The emergency department staff also did not always have access to hand gel or hand washing facilities Credit: ITV News Meridian

Staff did not always wear PPE correctly in the emergency department, including failing to remove it between clinical areas and patient bays, and they did not always use the correct PPE, the inspectors said.

They also highlighted that cleaning schedules were not kept up to date, meaning they were unsure that the wards had been cleaned properly.

The inspectors said that not all rooms had signs to indicate how many people were permitted to be in that area while being able to socially distance, although managers told inspectors that every room should have these signs.

Five members of staff were seen in one room which was too small to enable social distancing, the report said

The CQC's chief inspector of hospitals Professor Ted Baker 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."



Dr Sara Mumford, interim director of infection prevention and control at the NHS trust, said: "This inspection took place two months ago and we took immediate action to make improvements."