Health watchdog tells chiefs at Watford General Hospital that improvements are needed

Chief executive of West Herts Hospitals NHS Trust Samantha Jones.
Chief executive of West Herts Hospitals NHS Trust Samantha Jones.

Medical chiefs at Watford General Hospital have been told that improvements need to be made in four out of five national standards by a health watchdog.

Inspectors from the Care Quality Commission (CQC) visited in December and said that care provision, cleanliness staffing and standards of management needs to be improved.

Concerns were raised about cleanliness and infection control across four departments that were visited and in one case dried blood stains were found on the floor.

A shortage of staff was discovered in the Acute Assessment Unit and it was found that the records of care provided to patients were not well maintained.

The inspector’s report said: “In two cases we saw that papers in the records related to other people. For example we found blood test results and a request for a scan in the records that were not for the person whose records were being examined.”

The hospital was found to be meeting the standard of treating people with respect and involving them in their care.

Hospital chief executive Samantha Jones said: “We welcome the Care Quality Commission’s (CQC) report into Watford Hospital following a routine unannounced inspection. “The feedback we received from the Care Quality Commission highlights many strengths, including that our patients are treated with respect and are involved in discussions about their care and treatment. They also said that our patients are able to influence how services are managed and that the organisation is well run.

“In addition, the CQC reported good feedback from the patients they met, with often very complimentary remarks about the attention and attitude of our staff towards them.

“Unfortunately, the CQC have raised a number of minor concerns, including in relation to staffing, the control of infections, record keeping and the way in which we manage risk.

“As a result, we have recently submitted a detailed action plan to the CQC which will also be shared with our trust board and partners.

“We were already aware of many of the issues raised by the CQC and work was underway to address them. This includes a decision taken by the Trust Board last summer to spend an additional £3.9 million a year to recruit 160 extra nurses.

“We were also in the process of making significant changes to the way we prevent and control infections, with a specific focus on ensuring our cleaning teams meet the highest possible standards. We have also put in place new training for our staff and our senior nurses undertake formal spot checks to ensure our wards and clinics are clean.

“We are committed to providing our patients with the very best care and we will ensure that our action plan is implemented in full and will share feedback with our patients, local people and partners.”

>Read the full Care Quality Commission report by clicking here