The GWH has been taken to task over two areas of care following a snap inspection on December 8. The Care Quality Commission (CQC) was following up on the three concerns it identified after its July 2011 inspection.
In a twenty page report, the CQC said improvements were needed in measures to protect the safety of patients during surgery. This followed two so-called “never events” in the hospital’s theatres – events or mistakes that should never happen. One involved a surgeon operating on the wrong part of a patient’s body. The other concerned a surgeon fixing the wrong lens in a patient’s eye.
The report identifies the action taken by the hospital after these serious mistakes to ensure patient safety. This included a peer review of procedures by surgeons from Plymouth hospital where there had been some “never events”. Following the mistakes at Plymouth, surgeons there are considered to have put innovative and robust procedures and checks in place.
However the report insists that GWH review its procedures once again and make sure there is proper communication between all members of surgical teams before and during operations.
The CQC also had concerns about the hospital’s monitoring of patients’ fluid intake. And demanded new procedures be put in place to prevent dehydration of patients who are not able to help themselves to available drinks.
The third standard that had led to some censure in the last CQC report was that patients should be treated with respect and be involved in discussions about their care. The new report found that this standard was being met. But the CQC did suggest some further improvements.
Responding to the report, the GWH said an action plan was being produced to address the CQC’s points. Nerissa Vaughan, chief executive at GWH NHS Foundation Trust, said: “We take inspections by the Care Quality Commission very seriously and use their findings as an opportunity to explore ways we can improve the care we provide.”
“At the Great Western Hospital our staff see and treat over 400,000 people a year providing them with very good, personal care. We know from the feedback we receive that the vast majority of patients have a positive experience but we know there will always be areas where we need to focus to ensure patients are getting the best care possible.”
“As the CQC inspections are a snapshot of the way we provide care on a particular day, it cannot represent the entirety of what we do, so we don’t just rely on these inspections to tell us how we are doing. We also use patient feedback and a vast range of quality measures to understand how we provide care and from that what we can do differently in the future.”
The CQC has asked to see GWH’s action plans to remedy their concerns within fourteen days. And they say they will be back to make sure the action taken has worked.