Yorkshire hospital ordered to improve as patients wait over seven hours for treatment

An NHS hospital in South Yorkshire has been told to improve after inspectors found patients were waiting more than seven hours to see a doctor in the emergency department.

Rotherham General Hospital

Rotherham General Hospital was rated as ‘requires improvement’ by the Care Quality Commission (CQC) after inspectors visited in May and June.

Rotherham NHS Foundation Trust, which runs the hospital, said it has drawn up action plans to improve patient care but the report also highlights “a number of improvements” it has made in recent years.

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The report states patients “did not always receive the right care promptly” and ambulance staff “consistently reported delays in handing over patients”, with some waiting more than two hours.

Inspectors found clinicians in the emergency department were struggling to see patients within an hour, which is the national standard, and the average waiting time had reached 125 minutes in April 2021.

Patients “were not monitored or routinely retriaged” while waiting for emergency care, the report added, and some had been waiting more than seven hours, while one had waited over 10 hours.

Inspectors found that the medical service “did not have enough nursing and support staff to keep patients’ safe”, and said that nurse staffing levels were an “ongoing issue”, which were identified during previous inspections.

They also noticed that in four weeks of recent nursing rotas, 54 per cent of shifts were understaffed at the hospital.

The report also states staff “did not always treat patients' with compassion and kindness” and there were patients “being transferred in varying states of undress” including one who had no trousers and nothing else to cover himself.

But it also states they were “focused on the needs of patients’ receiving care”, and staff morale was “generally good”.

“Staff supported each other well and there was good teamwork. Teams we spoke with were proud of the services they provided to patients’ and the work they had done during the COVID-19 pandemic to care for patients’,” the report added.

A spokesperson for Rotherham NHS Foundation Trust said: “The CQC inspection report, published today, highlights a number of improvements the trust has made in a number of areas since previous inspections, as well as acknowledging some outstanding practice across the trust.

“We are pleased that the rating for our maternity services has improved to ‘good’, while other services inspected have maintained their existing ratings despite the additional challenges they have faced due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

“The report also highlights a number of areas for improvement in individual departments and across the trust. In response, the trust compiled action plans which our teams are working through in order to improve patient care and experience.

“As a trust, we welcome the findings of this report and we will use the learning from the CQC to continue to develop and grow our services to meet the needs of our patients, building on the improvements we have already made.”

They also noticed that in four weeks of recent nursing rotas, 54 per cent of shifts were understaffed at the hospital.

The report also states staff “did not always treat patients' with compassion and kindness” and there were patients “being transferred in varying states of undress” including one who had no trousers and nothing else to cover himself.

But it also states they were “focused on the needs of patients’ receiving care”, and staff morale was “generally good”.

“Staff supported each other well and there was good teamwork. Teams we spoke with were proud of the services they provided to patients’ and the work they had done during the Covid-19 pandemic to care for patients’,” the report added.