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King George Hospital still “requires improvement” but is “moving in the right direction”, according to the Care Quality Commission (CQC).
The Ilford hospital was deemed “good” for care and effectiveness after the inspection in September and October last year but “requires improvement” in safety, responsiveness and leadership.
The report published on January 9 revealed ten outpatients had been waiting more than a year for treatment and more than 1,000 “urgent” patients had been waiting more than 18 weeks.
Patients were also spending, on average, an hour longer in the hospital’s A&E than on average across England.
Responding to the report, interim chief executive Chris Bown said: “While we know there is still much more to do, I am delighted that inspectors have recognised our steady progress; rated us as good in three of the domains, including well-led; and praised our kind and compassionate staff and the high quality of care we provide to our patients every day.”
At the time of the inspection, 34,707 patients were waiting for outpatients appointments. More than 8,068 had been waiting for more than 18 weeks, of which 1,146 were “urgent” cases.
On average, patients spent three hours and 37 minutes in A&E, compared to an England average of two hours and 37 minutes.
According to Barking, Havering and Redbridge University Hospitals NHS Trust, these long wait times were caused by factors such as a shortage of doctors in certain areas, prioritising more urgent patients and more ambulances being received at its hospitals than other trusts.
New measures to reduce wait times being introduced include virtual clinics, improving complex patient tracking, bi-weekly meetings on areas where patients have been waiting more than 38 weeks.
Inspectors were pleased to find fewer nurse vacancies in the emergency department at King George, as well as efforts to improve staff retention and morale.
These included the “matron’s star of the month” award, a “shout out” compliment box and regular meetings focused on staff wellbeing.
Regarding the trust as a whole, Professor Ted Baker, England’s Chief Inspector of Hospitals, said: “Barking, Havering and Redbridge University Hospitals NHS Trust is definitely moving in the right direction.
“Although they are still rated ‘requires improvement’ overall, I note that they were rated ‘good’ in three of the main CQC categories, for being effective, caring and well-led.
“There were also a number of areas where we saw some outstanding practice which was very encouraging.
“I would like to see the trust striving to improve safety and responsiveness in a bid to attain a ‘good’ overall rating and most importantly better care for its patients.”