Blackpool Victoria Hospital is under pressure again following an inspection into the NHS trust which runs it.
Almost two years after the health watchdog CareQuality Commission (CQC) said the Whinney Heys Road hospital ‘requires’ improvement, it has given it the score again.
The inspection gives a rating over five key areas: safety, effectiveness, responsiveness, levels of caring, and leadership.
Safety - The rating stayed the same: ‘requires improvement. The report found a number of staff did not always have the ‘right qualifications, skills, training and experience to keep patients safe from avoidable harm and to provide the right care and treatment.’ It noted high levels of agency staff as well.
Staff also did not consistently assess risks to patients, act on them or keep good care records. Records were not always stored securely. Incidents were not consistently reported, and learning was not effectively shared either.
The report did find staff understood how to protect patients from abuse and the service worked well with other agencies to do so. It controlled infection risk well.
Effectiveness - From ‘good’ to ‘requires improvement’, the report says staff didn’t consistently monitor the effectiveness of care and treatment in some services. They also didn’t always assess and monitor patients regularly to see if they were in pain and give pain relief in a timely way.
Key services were also not always available and staff didn’t always support patients to make informed decisions about their care and treatment.
The trust did not always provide care and treatment based on national guidance and evidence-based practice.
However the report did find community services patient outcomes were monitored and improvement work was in place. Staff also gave most patients enough food and drink to meet their needs and improve their health. And in community and some hospital services, staff supported each other to provide good care.
Caring - This area remained ‘good’ and the report said staff treated patients with compassion and kindness, respected their privacy and dignity and took account of their individual needs.
Staff also supported and involved patients of all ages, and their families and carers to understand their condition and make decisions about their treatment.
Responsiveness - Downgraded to ‘requires improvement’, the report found that a number of waiting times did not fall in line with national standards including urgent (two-week) cancer referral performance, but the CQC noted the Vic has made some improvements since.
People could not always access the services when they needed them and did not always receive the right care promptly. The four-hour performance target in urgent and emergency care was consistently below national targets with no improvement.
Leadership - Received the worst score of ‘inadequate’. The CQC said a number of hospital chiefs didn’t have the knowledge and capacity to lead some services and effectively implement change.
Bosses didn’t always operate effective processes throughout the service and wider hospital either. They were also found to be lacking in dealing with risks and issues quickly enough.
The CQC also noted that staff didn’t always understand the service’s vision and values and they did not always feel respected, supported and valued.
The report also said the CQC was concerned about the culture within Blackpool Victoria Hospital.
More positively, the Clifton Hospital in St Annes and its community services remained good. The CQC acknowledged recent management changes, including the retirement of former chief executive Wendy Swift, who was replaced by Kevin McGee on a job-share basis with the East Lancashire trust.
Mr McGee, the Vic’s new chief executive, said: “The CQC has a number of actions that we must take and we are focused on completing those actions. We will also continue to work closely with the CQC, service commissioners, staff and stakeholders to ensure we provide a better service.
“There is a lot of work to do quickly, especially around performance, leadership, staff engagement, governance and learning lessons.”