Mid Yorkshire Hospitals NHS Trust staff working under 'sustained pressure' as Trust told to improve

A health regulator has said staff at Pinderfields Hospital in Wakefield continue to work under ‘sustained pressure’ to deliver patient care.

The Care Quality Commission (CQC) made the comments as Mid Yorkshire Hospitals NHS Trust was again given a requires improvement rating. Wakefield’s MP defended staff at the city’s hospital, saying they have to cope with “unrelenting demand and stretched resources.”

The regulator today publishes its latest report following a focused inspection of the urgent and emergency care departments at Pinderfields Hospital and Dewsbury and District Hospital. It noted that some improvements had been made since an inspection earlier this year. The inpsection is part of an ongoing review of urgent and emergency care services. Medical services, maternity and children’s services were also inspected at both sites.

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Emergency staff at Pinderfields were criticised for not always cleaning equipment after patient contact. There were also examples found of equipment used to transfer patients by ambulance staff not being cleaned after use. The report states that maternity staff provided emotional support to women, families and carers to minimise their distress. Maternity staff were also praised for understanding women’s personal, cultural and religious needs.

Mid Yorkshire Hospitals NHS Trust has been told to improve by CQCMid Yorkshire Hospitals NHS Trust has been told to improve by CQC
Mid Yorkshire Hospitals NHS Trust has been told to improve by CQC

The report states that the medical care service at Dewsbury did not always have enough nursing and support staff to keep patients from avoidable harm.

Sarah Dronsfield, CQC head of hospital inspection, said: “When we inspected The Mid Yorkshire Hospitals NHS Trust, staff were working hard under sustained pressure to deliver patient care. We found there had been a number of positive changes at board level, and the leadership team were trying to implement a number of improvements.

“However, at the time of our inspection, the improvements that had been put in place weren’t consistently embedded or having a significant positive impact on people’s experiences and more needs to be done, especially around managing patient flow through the hospitals.

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“The trust must ensure that they make the necessary improvements and work closely with system partners to improve patient flow into and out of the hospitals. We will keep a close eye on progress and will return to ensure that the required improvements are made.”

The overall rating for the trust remains as requires improvement. Leadership at the trust improved from requires improvement to good. At both sites, medical care dropped from good to requires improvement. Urgent and emergency services remain as requires improvement. Services for children and young people remain good. Maternity services at both sites were also rated as good.

Trust chief executive Len Richards said: “This CQC report shows areas of substantial improvement at the trust in the most challenging of circumstances. We are disappointed, however, that the trust’s rating overall remains at requires improvement as we feel this overall result does not reflect the extraordinary commitment of our staff to improving services since the last inspection.

“This inspection took place at a time when the number of patients coming through our doors was extremely high. In prioritising getting patients off ambulances so they could get back out on the road, our emergency departments were very congested, as were our medical wards. This clearly impacted on the demands on our staff and therefore the observations of the inspectors.”

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Mr Richards added: “Our staff continue to work extremely hard to find creative solutions to a situation over which we have limited control, and to deliver patient care to as high a standard as possible despite the sustained pressure they are working under, as we also recover from the impact of the pandemic.

Rob Webster, chief executive of the West Yorkshire Integrated Care System, of which Mid Yorkshire NHS Trust is a part, said: “I have seen first-hand the improvement journey that Mid Yorkshire Hospitals NHS Trust has been on. It is a changed organisation now and one which has introduced initiatives being held up nationally as examples of good practice. There is no doubt the trust faces challenges, as does the entire health and social care sector.”

Wakefield MP Simon Lightwood said: “I sympathise with the challenges faced by Mid Yorkshire Hospitals NHS Trust who are working extremely hard under the most difficult of conditions with unrelenting demand and stretched resources. Increasingly asked to do more, with less, our heroic NHS staff are doing their utmost to help care for us all. But effort alone can’t hold our crumbling NHS together. No amount of overtime can make up for 12 years of brutal funding cuts.”