Croydon University Hospital is not providing a consistently safe service to its patients and requires significant improvements, according to a hospital watchdog’s latest report.
Published today by the Care Quality Commission, the report highlighted that the institution, an A&E unit and the main hospital in the borough, is not providing a consistently safe service, especially to elderly patients. High staff vacancies were found to have affected the quality of care.
CQC officials said they had “serious concerns” about poor patient experience and inefficient communication between the Urgent Care Centre, run by another provider, and the A&E.
The Croydon Health Services NHS trust, which runs the 565-bed hospital and A&E service, received one of the worst ratings in the country in a national inpatient survey conducted last year.
As recently as January 2013 Croydon was criticised in a CQC report for having inadequate levels of staffing.
CQC officials acknowledged that the hospital management team has tried to improve the culture to attract qualified staff and that the trust has applied for funding to rebuild its A&E services. However, the report highlighted the need for continued improvements to patient care.
John Goulston, chief executive at Croydon Health Services NHS Trust, said: “I agree with the CQC that more remains to been done and where that needs to happen. The report will go a long way towards helping us make continued improvements where they matter most to staff and patients.”
The hospital inspection took place in September this year, in which “experts of experience” observed care, talked to patients and examined reporting and patient feedback. Unannounced inspections were also carried out.
Maternity and surgery services were found to be “generally safe and effective”, noting good practice and use of surgery checklists.
The report was one of the first to be published following the CQC’s latest round of nationwide hospital inspections.
Croydon University Hospital’s future has been in doubt over the last 12 months, with the threat of being downgraded to a ‘local hospital’ looming over it following a vote by Sutton Clinical Commissioning Group in May 2013.