CQC releases report on Princess Royal Hospital’s emergency department

The Care Quality Commission (CQC) has rated the emergency department at Princess Royal University Hospital, which is part of King’s College Hospital Foundation Trust, as “requires improvement” – which is an upgrade from its previous rating as “inadequate.”

The inspection took place in June, but now the full report is available online. The CQC spoke to 21 members of staff across a range of roles and responsibilities, as well as five patients, during the inspection.  

Professor Clive Kay, Chief Executive of King’s College Hospital NHS Foundation Trust said: “The CQC’s inspection report confirms that the improvements staff at PRUH have put in place are delivering benefits for patients, and the communities we serve. This is a positive step forward.

“I am pleased for PRUH ED staff, and the hospital’s leadership team, who have worked hard to embed positive changes within the department, at the same time as managing the challenges associated with COVID-19.

 “However, we mustn’t be complacent, and it is clear that further improvements are needed – and I am confident everyone is committed to making the ED at PRUH even better for patients, and staff.” 

The upgraded rating is a result of several improvements in the emergency department, such as closer attention paid to infection control measures. The CQC also reported that the emergency department had worked well with external organisations to protect patients from abuse. 

Major improvements to cleanliness in the department were noted, after the designated mental health room had been found to be cluttered and untidy during the previous inspection. The report said: “We found the room was clean and uncluttered. This was an improvement since our last inspection.”  

However, concerns were raised about storing equipment safely as, in one cupboard at the department, there was out of date stock. The department acknowledged this immediately and replaced the items in the cupboard, and the CQC noted that it made a concerted effort to create a better system to spot check equipment that may have run out of date.  

The CQC also noted that 22 additional staff had been recruited to the department, and the level of staff availability had improved. Staff revalidation was also kept up to date at the hospital and the department was found to be adequately staffed to cope with the levels of demand.  

In the area of compassion and care, the CQC rated the department as “good” and reported that “staff were discreet and responsive when caring for patients. The staff took time to interact with patients and those close to them in a respectful and considerate way. We spoke with five patients who said staff were kind and considerate to their needs, even though they recognised they were extremely busy.” This area was another that had a marked improvement, compared to the previous inspection.  

However, the report raised concerns that there was a lack of space for treating patients in the department, and states that it “must ensure that the waiting area is managed effectively to ensure social distancing” and added that some patients ended up standing or sitting on the floor. In response, the department has plans to create new space for patients who are waiting for treatment, to avoid compromising social distancing measures in the future.

As well as the emergency department, the CQC has also rated its parent trust – King’s College Hospital Foundation Trust – overall as “requires improvement.”