Snap inspection at Norwich hospital in wake of A&E waits

PUBLISHED: 08:02 04 April 2013 | UPDATED: 08:02 04 April 2013

Anna Dugdale from the Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital.

Anna Dugdale from the Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital.

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Ongoing concerns over long A&E waits at the Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital has resulted in England’s health regulator conducting an unannounced inspection.

Inspectors from the Care Quality Commission (CQC) visited the hospital’s emergency department after months of concerns about ambulance handover delays, it emerged yesterday.

The problems at A&E were highlighted on Easter Monday when an inflatable tent was put up outside as a makeshift ward and ambulances were queuing for up to four hours outside the Colney site because the hospital was full.

Calls have been made for the NHS trust to improve after the East of England Ambulance Service highlighted the N&N as the worst in the East for ambulance handover delays.

The CQC yesterday confirmed it was inspecting standards at the hospital after concerns were raised and that it would be publishing an inspection report within the next four weeks.

Officials at the Norfolk hospital said they were working hard to improve performance including looking to redesign A&E within the next 18 months and hire more senior nurses.

The chief executive of the hospital and the interim chief of the ambulance service met yesterday after the bank holiday chaos. A summit has also been called by the new Clinical Commissioning Groups for Norfolk on April 18 to discuss the handover issues with hospital and ambulance chiefs.

Anna Dugdale, chief executive of the N&N, said: “As part of our plans for routine refurbishment we are looking at our capacity needs for the future. We are working with the ambulance trust, community and clinical commissioning groups, and social services through Project Domino to address the capacity of the whole health and social care system and how we ensure that all our patients are cared for promptly and appropriately.”

Up to 15 ambulances were queued up outside A&E on Monday. However the emergency tent was not needed, despite a 33pc increase in patients compared to Easter Monday last year.

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