Officials from the health industry regulator Care Quality Commission (CQC) have been at Blackpool Victoria Hospital for an inspection.
Bosses will be hoping for a boost in rating – the Vic, in Whinney Heys Road, currently ‘requires improvement’ in two out of five key areas and overall. It is ‘good’ in the other three areas.
Last month, the hospital was severely criticised by the CQC after a snap inspection in January revealed a host of serious failings.
In a report, the CQC said patients were forced to sit on the floor in A&E because of a lack of room, equipment was left blocking corridors and exits, triage delays of more than three hours, and very poor, unkind care in the acute medical unit during a violent incident.
Inspectors said Vic bosses must improve the standards of care and staffing levels in the emergency department, among a raft of other recommendations.
The report also highlighted how staff were also subjected to ‘increasing’ levels of threatening behaviour, aggression and violence from both patients and relatives.
But inspectors also witnessed ‘outstanding’ practice – including a nurse who they said “remained kind and compassionate despite a patient screaming in their face after being in the department for 17 hours”.
They also said efforts by senior management to help reduce congestion in the emergency department and strengthen governance were good example of action already taken at the Vic.
Kevin McGee, the hospital's interim chief executive, said: “The quality of care we provide to patients is, and always will be, our number one priority and we will be working with staff and partners in the health and social care system to respond to the issues raised immediately and effectively to ensure we treat people with compassion, dignity and in the most appropriate manner.
“At the time of the inspection in January the NHS locally and across the country was seeing increased demand, particularly for urgent and emergency services with a number of significant surges in Emergency Department attendance.
“That this report provides a snapshot of the way our services work, when staff and services are under the highest levels of pressure, is helpful and it will give us an opportunity to reflect on how we respond to those challenged periods.
“We are grateful for the professionalism, and attitude with which staff in our emergency department, and across the whole organisation, pull together to support each other and provide care to our patients.
“It is pleasing to see the report does show the efforts being made to embed real and sustained improvements in areas such as waiting times, patient flow and mental health pathways. Our challenges in terms of capacity have been recognised with the Trust being awarded more than £11m by the Government to develop a new Emergency Village which will help us to create more space and improved facilities to care for patients.
“It is pleasing to see the report refer to some areas of outstanding practice in the department, including senior leadership support of the Emergency Department staff, effective clinical collaboration between nursing and clinical staff and the resilience and compassion of staff and it also noted the innovative use of the Psynergy car service for patients with urgent mental health needs.
“It is clear the report by the CQC exposes areas of genuine concern that we recognise need to be improved and many of these are being addressed as a priority by the Trust.”
The CQC said staff systematically did their best in challenging circumstances and demonstrated resilience and compassion when trying to help patients.
No rating was issued to the hospital as it was not deemed a full inspection.