Darent Valley Hospital has been told it “requires improvement” by the Care Quality Commission with patients’ “dignity” and “privacy” being compromised.
The results of the inspection criticised the use of mixed-sex wards and confidential data being discussed in corridors as well as concerns over 285 staff members whose training was out-of-date.
Whilst inspectors from the Care Quality Commission (CQC) said in general the staff culture was “positive” and “engaged”, the new inspection regime revealed a number of concerns about the facility.
It took a year to make improvements after serious incidents in some cases.
Inspectors will carry out an unannounced inspection in the near future to check improvements have been made.
What rated badly?
Lack of overall vision, slow response to improvements and training, bed management and inappropriate staff attendance at A&E were all highlighted as concerns.
The summary of the inspection report said: “In some cases the changes in practice in response to learning from serious incidents took up to 12 months to implement.”
The A&E is also struggling to meet serious demand and inspectors noticed an issue around bed capacity.
The report said: “The main challenge was the demand on the accident and emergency (A&E) department and the rise in emergency admissions."
The report also revealed patients dignity “being compromised by the continued use of mixed sex wards” and personal information was being compromised by being displayed in open areas or discussed in public areas.
Over the last three years the hospital’s bed occupancy rate has been consistently higher than the national average which meant some people were placed in unsuitable areas.
It was revealed the national policy for children’s pain management was not being followed in the A&E department and the resuscitation guidelines were out-of-date.
Training was also a concern with 285 members of staff whose training was out of date and were not booked to attend a session.
What rated well?
Some services – maternity, outpatients, children’s services and end-of-life care – were found to be good.
The CQC gave good feedback for staff overall and said they were “positive, engaged and very loyal to the organisation” whilst also being “open and transparent about the challenges they faced”.
Dartford and Gravesham NHS Trust response
Dartford and Gravesham NHS Trust chief executive Susan Acott (pictured above) said: “Whereas it is encouraging to see that we have been rated as good in the majority of areas, we remain committed to providing high quality services throughout the trust and will be working hard to address the areas where improvements are required.”
A trust spokesman said: “We are delighted to see that the report recognises that overall the hospital is delivering safe, effective, caring, well-led services that are responsive to people’s needs.
“We are continuing to focus on the two areas highlighted by the CQC as requiring improvement namely, in A&E where work is needed to increase the number of nurses qualified in the care of children and to be more responsive to the fluctuating demands caused by increasing admissions.”
Gareth Johnson's view
Dartford MP Gareth Johnson said: "I regularly visit the hospital and there is no doubt in my mind that Darent Valley is a good, well run hospital.
"I am therefore pleased that this report recognised many of its qualities.
"It has new renal, breast cancer and dementia units. The maternity unit has expanded and A&E will also expand soon.
"I don’t claim that things never go wrong at Darent Valley but it remains a hospital that Dartford can be proud of."