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Nurse shortage 'compromised safety' at hospital's A&E department

West Middlesex Hospital has been told it 'requires improvement' in a new CQC report

West Middlesex Hospital, in Twickenham Road, Isleworth

Patients' safety at West Middlesex Hospital has been compromised by a shortage of nurses in A&E, according to inspectors.

The hospital, in Isleworth, has been told it 'requires improvement' - the second lowest of four possible ratings - by health watchdog the Care Quality Commission (CQC).

Emergency treatment, surgery, children's services, end of life care and outpatient facilities were all found wanting in the report, published on Tuesday (April 7).

However, medical care, critical care and maternity and gynaecology services were judged 'good' by inspectors, who visited between November 25 and December 13 last year.

The report was particularly critical about what it described as a shortage of consultants and nurses in the A&E department, where waiting times were above the national average.

"There were insufficient numbers of nurses on duty in A&E to care for patients safely given the severity of patients' symptoms and the geographical layout of the department," it stated.

Inspectors also called into question end of life care, saying the hospital's specialist palliative care service was smaller than that at other similarly sized trusts and the consultant cover was just one sixth of that recommended.

However, the report praised the hospital's maternity, medical and critical care departments, where it said patients and their relatives generally spoke highly of the treatment they had received.

In critical care, it stated: "Patients said they were treated with respect, and their dignity and privacy was maintained. Relatives told us staff were always welcoming, kind and handled difficult conversations sensitively."

Jacqueline Totterdell, who only replaced Jacqueline Doherty as chief executive of the hospital on April 1, said: "First and foremost we want people to receive the best care possible, so that everyone who uses our services feels personally supported and involved in their treatment.

"I am delighted that the hard work and efforts of our staff have been recognised by the CQC, and that patients and relatives have given such great feedback about their experiences here.

"Despite our obvious strengths and caring attitudes of staff, there are some areas requiring improvement. The report made clear the issues we must focus on and we have been working collaboratively with our health and social care colleagues to address some of these.

"I'd like to thank colleagues across the trust for their dedication and hard work, and would echo the sentiments of the CQC in acknowledging that West Middlesex is a hospital where care is our byword – staff care about their work and patients who come here feel cared for."

You can read the full report at http://www.cqc.org.uk/location/RFW01.

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