Beds set to reopen after £19m hospital gets clean bill of health

MANAGERS at a £19m hospital have been told they can reopen beds closed three months ago in the wake of a critical inspection report.
The East Riding Community Hospital in BeverleyThe East Riding Community Hospital in Beverley
The East Riding Community Hospital in Beverley

Nearly two-thirds of the 30 beds at the hospital at Beverley were forced to close in July – just a year after it opened – after a snap inspection by the Care Quality Commission (CQC) found it did not meet three of seven essential national standards.

The inspection, carried out in June, raised concerns about “staff competency” both on the community ward and in the neighbourhood community team based at East Riding Community Hospital, with staff worried that patients were “at risk of poor care” because of insufficient qualified and experienced staff, a heavy workload, and vacancies not being filled at the correct skill level.

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But yesterday the trust that runs the ward and other services announced it was advertising for 20 new posts on community teams across the East Riding and planning to reopen all the beds by the end of the month.

It follows a re-inspection by a team of inspectors from the CQC last week.

David Snowdon, chief executive at the Humber NHS Foundation Trust, said: “We are very pleased to confirm the CQC assessors are now completely satisfied that the community ward meets essential national standards of quality and safety and that we have addressed the action needed in the following areas; supporting workers; assessing and monitoring the quality of service and care and welfare of people who use services.

“It is extremely important to us that we always deliver the highest quality of care and patient safety and we have invested a significant amount of resources into enhancing staff training, knowledge and skills and managing identified risks to promptly and appropriately address the issues raised by the CQC.

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People who have spent time on the community ward have been extremely positive about their care and treatment throughout and current patients told CQC inspectors during the most recent visit that the care they were receiving at the hospital was ‘gold standard’.”

Beverley and Holderness MP Graham Stuart welcomed the decision.

He said: “The system appears to be working.

“The criticism that came was not that there was some total failure of service provision but there were specific issues that needed to be addressed.

“Although improvements needed to be made the quality of service for the most part was good and the problems have now been rectified.”

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However, George McManus, chairman of Beverley Labour Party, expressed concern over the move.

“This is welcome news but we still have deep concerns about the ability of fragmented organisations to knit together the seamless care patients need,” he said.

In their visit in June the CQC found that management had lowered the threshold for competence to enable staff to transfer from community hospitals in Hornsea, Alfred Bean and Driffield and Beverley Westwood.

While staff were described as “fantastic”, for some “the leap” to a busy 30-bed ward where the needs of patients were “very much greater” was “too much”.

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Information from the trust showed “at least 65 per cent of the trained nurses were not considered to be fully competent to work in their role”.

There was also concern about six “serious untoward incidents” which had happened in the first year.

Karen Towner, area organiser for the Unison union, said: “We are pleased to note they are recruiting staff and they have commenced training to upskill staff so they have the necessary skills for their new setting.

“We will be keeping an eye on the situation as it progresses.”

A report detailing the CQC’s findings is expected to be 
published in the next six weeks.