Health of Stevenage’s Lister Hospital is improving say inspectors

UNISON members are protesting outside the the Lister Hospital today.

UNISON members are protesting outside the the Lister Hospital today. - Credit: Archant

Stevenage’s Lister Hospital has made major improvements to its emergency department and children’s services in the past year, but more still needs to be done.

That’s the verdict from the Care Quality Commission which carried out an unannounced ‘focused’ inspection on the departments on May 17, after concerns about standards were raised during a previous inspection in October 2015.

The visit focused on the adult emergency department at the Coreys Mill Lane hospital, and the Bluebell ward – which is part of the hospital’s children’s and young people’s service.​​

Its report published on Monday highlights major improvements in the emergency department, including that all staff are caring and compassionate towards patients and visitors; patients and those close to them feel involved in their care and have all treatments and procedures explained to them fully, and improvement in effectiveness of the triage system.

There have also been improvements to hand hygiene and overall cleanliness.

But inspectors found the unit is still consistently failing to meet its 15-minute time target to get patients seen in triage. The unit has also failed to meet its four-hour ‘treat, transfer or discharge’ national performance targets since June 2015.

The report states improvements have been made for children with complex care needs on the Bluebell ward. Staff are now using a paediatric early warning score to identify early signs that a child is at risk of deteriorating. The ward was visibly clean when inspected and staff followed infection prevention and control guidelines.

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There was the right amount and type of medical equipment on the ward. Nurse staffing levels have increased but the ward was still relying on agency and bank staff to maintain its rota and some medical equipment on the ward was not being maintained properly.

The current inspection findings do not change the grades the hospital was awarded in April, following the October 2015 inspection. The hospital is graded as ‘requires improvement’ in the four key areas of being safe, effective, responsive and well led, and has a ‘good’ grade for caring.

A statement from the East and North Herts NHS Trust, which runs the hospital, said: “We were pleased to see that the CQC found that good progress has been made by both teams against the areas where further work was requested. Of course more needs to be done, but it is good to see that the CQC inspection team could see that real progress has been made since last October. That is testament to the great efforts made by our staff to ensure that they responded quickly and positively to the CQC inspection.”

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