The Care Quality Commission has found that the East and North Hertfordshire NHS Trust still requires improvement following the latest inspection.

The trust was rated as requires improvement back in 2019, and following checks by the CQC on June 20 and 21, and August 2 and 3, it has been given the same rating.

Concerns were raised over staff shortages, patients being treated in "crowded and unsuitable" areas of emergency departments, and mandatory training not being completed.

"Whilst we saw caring staff across all of the services we looked at, it’s disappointing that we found a mixed picture with some small improvements, but also some deterioration," said Catriona Eglinton, deputy director of operations at the CQC.

"Leaders at the trust haven’t been able to demonstrate they’ve taken all the learnings from previous inspections, and used them build on good work, to continuously improve services for the people in East and North Hertfordshire.  

"Leaders must find a way to sustain the improvements that they make, and we’ve identified some of the areas that would help them do this, especially around learning and taking action from it.

"We saw services didn’t manage safety incidents well, and didn’t always ensure lessons were learnt from them. We also saw a similar pattern with risk management. Whilst leaders were good at identifying it, they didn’t always take actions to reduce the risk.

The Comet: East and North Herts NHS Trust also run the QEII Hospital.East and North Herts NHS Trust also run the QEII Hospital. (Image: Archant)

"It was concerning that we found a decline in the quality of care being provided in urgent and emergency services. The trust must work across all of its departments right from outpatients, to surgery, as well as wider in the local system to address the challenges it faces. 

"We saw people couldn’t always access the care and treatment they needed in a timely manner, and the waiting times from referral to treatment and discharge weren’t in line with national guidelines. 

"However, we saw the foundations of a much safer and more well-led service in maternity, which is why we’ve improved their overall rating from inadequate to requires improvement, but there is still work for them to do.   

"We now expect the trust to take what we’ve told them and use it to make and sustain improvements, and build on some of the good work they’ve done to make them more widespread. We’ll continue to monitor services during this time to make sure people are safe."

This newspaper has contacted the East and North Hertfordshire NHS Trust for comment, but is yet to receive a response.