Inspectors have ordered a hospital in Boris Johnson’s constituency to improve infection control procedures.
The Care Quality Commission launched an inspection at the trust after it was alerted to a number of staff becoming infected with Covid-19.
It has told the The Hillingdon Hospital NHS Foundation Trust it must make “immediate improvements” to its infection control practices in order to “protect the safety of patients and staff”.
In July the trust had to shut to emergency admissions and emergency ambulances after an outbreak in the hospital.
Seventy members of staff needed to isolate after “a number” tested positive for Covid-19, the trust said at the time.
In August, CQC inspectors visited the trust to examine how it is dealing with Covid-19.
Our A&E department at Hillingdon Hospital remains open and we are receiving emergency ambulances and emergency admissions.Ensuring the safety of patients & staff at Hillingdon Hospital remains our number one priority.
— Hillingdon Hospitals #BeSmartStayApart (@HillingdonNHSFT) July 16, 2020
As a result of the inspection, CQC placed conditions on the trust’s registration “to ensure standards of safety”.
Shortly after the inspection, trust chief executive Sarah Tedford resigned.
Lesley Watts, chief executive of Chelsea and Westminster Hospital NHS Foundation Trust, is acting as an “adviser” to the trust.
She warned staff that they will not be paid for time spent self-isolating if they break mask rules – a similar warning was issued at her other trust.
The conditions require the trust to take a number of actions, these include:
– The trust must ensure staff and patients observe social distancing throughout the hospital.
– Personal protective equipment must be accessible and staff must wear PPE when going into high risk areas.
– CQC should be provided with any system put in place to ensure staff are tested for the virus and “fit to work”.
– Patient care plans “must consider Covid-19”.
– Risk assessments must be carried out throughout the hospital to ensure the risks relating to the spread of Covid-19 are reduced – this includes the wards, education centre, the lecture theatre and syndicate rooms, corridors and main entrance to the hospital.
– The trust has also been required to “put in place an effective system to ensure that there is oversight over the booking of the education centre”.
Dr Nigel Acheson, CQC’s deputy chief inspector of hospitals, said: “People using services at The Hillingdon Hospital NHS Foundation Trust are entitled to services that are safe, effective, caring and responsive. We found a number of concerns relating to infection control and this is why we have taken action to ensure the safety of patients, staff and visitors.
“We have imposed urgent conditions upon the trust’s registration and expect The Hillingdon Hospital NHS Foundation Trust to focus on making the required improvements as a matter of priority.
“We will return to inspect and ensure that action has been taken and that improvements have been made and are being sustained.”
CQC said it will publish a full report of its findings from the August inspection in due course.
In a statement, the trust said: “Recently the Care Quality Commission (CQC) conducted an unannounced inspection at Hillingdon Hospital. As a result, the CQC set a number of conditions for the trust to meet and we have taken immediate action to improve safety.
“The safety and well-being of our patients and of our staff must be at the heart of everything we do and we are making urgent improvements to ensure this – particularly in infection prevention and control.
“We have made physical changes to our building to support better social distancing and we have reviewed our procedures to make sure they are robust. We are receiving expert support in making these improvements, and we are regularly reporting on our actions to both the CQC and NHS England.
“We believe that we are making progress, and we want to assure our staff, patients and the wider community of our absolute commitment to their safety and wellbeing.”