A Yorkshire hospitals trust has submitted an action plan to health inspectors after a damning review found significant safety about the standard of care patients were receiving.
The Care Quality Commission (CQC) told York and Scarborough Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust it must make urgent improvements and served it with a warning notice following an inspection at York Hospital in March.
It was carried out because the watchdog had received “significant safety concerns about fundamental standards of patient care.”
It issued the trust with a warning notice in response to its ineffective systems for managing patient risk assessments, nutrition and hydration, pressure area care and falls prevention.
In a letter to the inspector, chief nurse Heather McNair said that while “a number of actions have been completed to improve quality and safety across the organisation”, there was “much work to do”.
Specialist nutrition and hydration nurses have been recruited at both York and Scarborough, according to the action plan.
“The increased visibility of specialist nurses in nutrition and hydration should increase knowledge and education for staff whilst also ensuring a safety net for patients with complex nutrition and hydration needs,” Ms McNair said in her letter.
A simplified nursing risk assessment document has been created to make it easier for staff to complete and mental capacity advisors are to be recruited.
The report highlighted concerns about short staffing. Beds have been reduced on one ward while another has been shut altogether to increase staff numbers elsewhere in the hospital.
Ms McNair wrote: “Whilst in the short term we haven’t yet been able to substantially increase the workforce numbers, we have better oversight of daily staffing levels and the subsequent impacts for patients and staff.”
Each ward has also been tasked with developing its own improvement plan.
A full inspection of the hospital is due to take place within three months of this month.
Trust chief executive Simon Morritt said in his July board report: “We absolutely recognise the seriousness of the concerns raised by the CQC and since their visit there have been a number of actions taken to improve quality and safety across the organisation.”
The hospital remains under pressure from the effects of the pandemic, with more than 150 patients across the trust testing positive for Covid. Mask wearing has been reintroduced across most hospital areas.
Mr Morritt added in his report: “This, alongside the challenges in discharging patients who no longer need to be in hospital and our ongoing workforce pressures, means that we continue to have significant issues with flow on both of our acute sites.”