Inspectors fail on Gorleston hospital care

THE James Paget University Hospital has failed a second inspection by a care watchdog in the space of five months.

Health watchdogs from the Care Quality Commission (CQC) handed the hospital a formal warning earlier this month, meaning it could be prosecuted, have services restricted or even be closed down if significant improvements are not made.

Now hospital bosses have pledged to implement new audit procedures, and staff are committed to working with management to ensure patients receive the best care possible.

Anne Daine, a matron at the hospital and representative for the Royal College of Nursing, said: “We’re disappointed with the outcome of the CQC visit but we’re committed to working in partnership with James Paget to improve the standards.”

Senior managers met Yarmouth MP Brandon Lewis and Waveney MP Peter Aldous on Tuesday.

Speaking after the meeting, Mr Lewis said: “I asked them what they’ve put in place to make sure things never go backwards again.

“The audit structure they’ve put in place gives me some confidence.

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“I think it’s a real concern there were problems earlier this year and I was given lots of reassurance from the hospital about how this was being rectified and wasn’t going to happen again. I’m very concerned that having been given all this reassurance they’ve failed again.

“We’ve got phenomenal staff working hard, but the hospital isn’t backing them up and that needs to change.”

Inspectors first investigated to check whether elderly people were treated with dignity and respect, and were receiving food and drink that met their needs.

At that time, CQC found the Paget was not meeting essential standards of care. However, when inspectors returned earlier this month they found standards of nutrition were still falling short of what people should be able to expect.

Inspectors found people were provided with a choice of nutritious food and hydration and that staff were generally kind and supportive. But the food was still not always suitable to meet the individual’s needs and people still did not always receive the support they required to maintain a good dietary and fluid intake.

Frances Carey, regional director for CQC in the East of England, said: “Proper nutrition and hydration is an important part of recovery, especially for elderly people.”

Hospital bosses say improvements have begun to take place, but conceded more needs to be done.

Paget chief executive Wendy Slaney said: “There is still work to do to get it right for all our patients and we are working on a programme of initiatives to ensure the required improvements are made.”

She said many of the issues raised were to do with the organisation and delivery of meals to patients.

The hospital has implemented a new system for meal delivery, with meal coordinators ensuring patients get the support they need.

Ms Slaney said staff then speak to patients after each meal to ensure their experience was as it should be and to take action where issues arise.