A YORKSHIRE hospital trust has made widespread improvements but is still suffering from staff shortages, six months after being ordered to take action by a health watchdog.
The Care Quality Commission (CQC) said there had been “significant progress” at Bradford Royal Infirmary since bosses were issued with a formal warning in January for failing to meet four of six national standards reviewed.
Of the four standards the CQC said three, “respecting and involving people”, “care and welfare”, and “assessing and monitoring the quality of service provision”, were now being met.
But the trust that runs the hospital has been told further action is needed on staffing as “there was not, at all times, sufficient numbers of qualified staff working to ensure patients’ welfare”.
Its report said this standard was still not being met and that Bradford Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust must put together a report setting out how it will improve. The CQC said: “We carried out an inspection at Bradford Royal Infirmary in July this year to monitor the trust’s progress in addressing the requirements set out in our previous report released in January.
“We were pleased to see evidence of improvement in all areas reviewed.
“Although we are encouraged by this improvement and have lifted the warning notice served in October in relation to staffing, more work still needs to be done to ensure that there are appropriate numbers of qualified staff on duty at all times. It is vital that the improvements made to date are fully embedded in the trust’s culture and sustained for the future.”
In relation to one of the national standards, the CQC said improvements had been made “across all the wards and departments we visited”. It said: “We saw many positive examples where staff purposefully ensured people’s privacy and dignity was maintained and staff spoke with patients in a respectful and polite way.
“In relation to staffing, the trust had made significant progress in several areas including improving recruitment processes, increasing staffing numbers, more closely monitoring staffing numbers and firming up assurance processes.
“However, of the staff rotas we reviewed, including from the accident and emergency department, there were several examples where shifts fell short of the ideal number of qualified nurses and which had not been filled with bank or agency staff.
“Nursing staff we spoke with acknowledged some shifts were short but felt staffing levels overall had improved.”
The hospital’s Chief Nurse, Juliette Greenwood, paid tribute to her staff’s “hard work and commitment”. She said: “We are pleased that the CQC has lifted their warning notice on staffing and have acknowledged the significant progress we have made in all of the areas they reviewed.
“We have made considerable improvements and are working hard to fill our remaining vacancies.
“We are fully committed and focused on ensuring that we have the correct numbers and ratio of staff in all areas of the Foundation Trust, although we acknowledge that on some shifts this can still prove a challenge and we sometimes fall short of our expected levels, despite trying to back-fill these posts with bank or agency staff.”