Health body's safety and quality of care needs 'urgent improvement',warns watchdog

THE primary care trust (PCT) in Comet country is one of 22 NHS Trusts nationwide which requires urgent improvements to its safety and quality of care, according to a national watchdog. Staff training relating to safeguarding vulnerable adults and childr

THE primary care trust (PCT) in Comet country is one of 22 NHS Trusts nationwide which requires "urgent improvements" to its safety and quality of care, according to a national watchdog.

Staff training relating to safeguarding vulnerable adults and children from abuse, and the documentation of patients' consent to treatment are the Care Quality Commission's (CQC) two main concerns when it comes to the East and North Herts PCT - which this month merged with West Herts PCT to become NHS Hertfordshire.

All NHS Trusts must now be registered by law with the CQC to provide care. To be registered, Trusts must show they meet essential standards of quality and safety. The Comet country PCT's registration is dependent on action being taken to improve the two areas of concern by June 1.

The PCT has itself declared six further areas of concerns, but the CQC has said it is satisfied it is "addressing these issues appropriately".

They include concern about the management of medicines; the safety, availability and suitability of equipment; records management and confidentiality of patient information; and reporting errors, near miss incidents or actual incidents.

Frances Carey, CQC regional director, said: "It is vital the Trust makes the changes highlighted, for the safety of those using and working at its hospitals.

Most Read

"If we find the improvements have not been delivered on time, the Trust could face tougher enforcement action."

Dr Jane Halpin, deputy chief executive of the PCT, said: "The first condition relates to the need to have a named safeguarding adult nurse. This role has been filled by someone whose time is shared with the commissioning side of the PCT, however we recognise this needs to be a separate role."

Referring to the documentation of patients' consent to treatment, Dr Halpin said: "During self-assessment we couldn't be absolutely assured that all staff were keeping their records of patient consent in the same way, so we have put in place training to help staff fully understand why they need to do this consistently, and how.

Become a Supporter

This newspaper has been a central part of community life for many years. Our industry faces testing times, which is why we're asking for your support. Every contribution will help us continue to produce local journalism that makes a measurable difference to our community.

Become a Supporter