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.

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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.

18 comments

  • But not a snap sacking of the incompetent and malignant hospital board? Slim chance; it will be inadequate nurse training found at fault, again, per Mid Staffs. With DP running the CQC a whitewash is inevitable. No mention of Chloe Smith? She should be claiming the credit.

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    Mr Cameron Isaliar

    Thursday, April 4, 2013

  • My experience with the CQC is that they do not want positive comments and are quite happy to scapegoat anyone,especially nursing staff,as long as it deflects from the government's abolitionist intentions.They are in effect used by Hunt and others as their own personal attack dogs and seem perfectly happy in the role.

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    Peter Watson

    Thursday, April 4, 2013

  • Canuk - very much the same system as Canada - walk-in patients (unless they clearly have something worrying like chest pain) sit in a waiting room and are seen in a small "see and treat" area, ambulance arrivals usually go into the main ED. The problem is that the hospital wards are totally full, so ED has nowhere to move patients out to once they have had initial treatment and been referred for admission. Extra wards (or more community hospital nursing home beds) and quicker discharge of patients who are medically fit but need homecare organising are what is needed, rather than a bigger ED. Unfortunately successive UK governments have had a policy of reducing the number of hospital beds in a misguided attempt to save money. The addition of another 100,000 residents to the catchment area without expanding hospital bed capacity would be a total disaster. So expect it to happen.

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    Fish

    Thursday, April 4, 2013

  • the n&h is not now big enough to cope with the size of the area.if the hospital is full ,what is the staff suposed to do?i went in for a gall bladder op two years ago and had wonderfull treatment,but when i came back from surgery there was not any room to go back on my ward so i was put in to the ward where the hip ops where recovering.it was no ones fault.just too many patients.

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    bluelight

    Thursday, April 4, 2013

  • Misinformation-the hallmark of the NNUH's aproach and spin their modus operandi. Having seen the Mrs Dugdale on television attempting to defend (for which read 'deflect any criticism from me') the A and E debacle, one witnessed a bravura performance of hype which said little and explained nothing. This of course from the same media conscious CEO who ensured that her intermittent demonstrations of her ward cleaning and sundry activities were only performed when sufficient publicity was available.

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    Michael Johnson

    Thursday, April 4, 2013

  • I cannot for the life of me understand why it takes so long to turn around the ambulances. Is the Emerg not big enough? or is it crowded by walk in patients? if this is the case then surely it would be simple to build a place connected to the hospital proper by a corridor. We have a similar problem, but people who are brought in by Ambulance are wheeled straight in to the Emerg dept, those that walk in, take a number and wait! sometime for hours, but only because their own family Doctors are not available...... There then comes the other situation that the planners want to build 37 thousand houses thats around 120thousand extra people without thinking we these people are going to get hosital treatment... someone is in great need of some mental help...

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    canuk

    Thursday, April 4, 2013

  • Dugdale is a beancounter, the worst qualification imaginable for running a public service body. She joined the trust in 1993, so has been present throughout the PFI debacle and under-capacity that has plagued the hospital ever since. As one of David Prior's people it is expected that she would enjoy the protection of a vigorous misinformation campaign to scapegoat the EEAS. In 1998, the N&NUH trust let one of the first PFI hospital contracts to a private sector consortium, Octagon. In 2003, just two years after the new hospital opened, Octagon refinanced the project, dramatically increasing its investors’ rate of return to over three times the level Octagon had predicted when bidding for the contract. The trust only received 29% of the refinancing gains despite taking on substantial new risks following the refinancing. A report to the House of Commons public accounts committee found that the trust further contributed to the inappropriate outcome by accepting that, should it wish to end this contract early, its liabilities could now include all the additional borrowings Octagon used to boost its investors’ returns. The committee concluded 'We would not expect to see another Accounting Officer appearing before this Committee defending what we believe to be the unacceptable face of capitalism in the consortium’s dealings with the public sector.' The bungling and inept Director of Resources (Accounting Officer) at the N&NUH responsible for the shambles, none other than Anna Dugdale, now chief executive of course.

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    Police Commissioner ???

    Thursday, April 4, 2013

  • Let us hope that the result of the inspection and the following report will, point to a more extended, flexible A&E with increased staff, as well as a small hint to our planners that the expansion plans hinge on there being another hospital built in the east of Norwich.

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    ingo wagenknecht

    Thursday, April 4, 2013

  • Let's hope the inspectors do a thorough job and look at the dirty toilets, staff and patients still smoking in the grounds, terrible parking and the fact that all the patients food is brought in daily by road from Cambridge and re-heated on the wards. It is a disgrace that kitchens weren't built at the outset.

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    samphirelover

    Thursday, April 4, 2013

  • One assumes that amongst the many free.loaders surrounding Dugdale and her fellow execs there is a PR department to generate favourable spin? Lots of OBN types with the right connections. Why else has the EDP published the second fluffy "good news" story about the N&NUH this week, if not to counteract all the bad press abounding. What a pity the plaudit-winning radiotherapy dept hasn't been able to deal with the can.cer at the top of the hospital.

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    Mr Cameron Isaliar

    Thursday, April 4, 2013

  • Why isn't Chloe Smith mentioned in this article? She should be taking the credit in the same way she tries to associate herself with every other matter of public concern. Perhaps she should launch a new campaign, this time focussed on rescuing the N&NUH. She needs to get back in the public eye following the failure and slide into obscurity of her over-hyped NFJ damp squib.

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    Mr Cameron Isaliar

    Thursday, April 4, 2013

  • All the inspections on the world will not change a single thing. The N&N was estimated to be 200 hundred beds short of need and inadequate at the time of construction. The wonderful hospital that it replaced , in the centre of the city, was used to make a lot of money for builders and investors. The reaason that the N&N was built in such an inaccessible place was simply to save the surgeons from too much travel as they flipped between what was then BUPA private hospital to their work for the NHS. The Tories are in the advanced stage of privatising and dismantling the NHS. Poor performances by the NHS means that the private profit driven sector can be seen to be the answer. There is a massive amount of taxpayesr money up for grabs. Already the GPs have just been given massive spending powers to be paid into private companies as they think fit. Cameron has been a very successful prime minister, ably backed by his lackies the LibDems in putting taxpayers money into the pockets of his wealthy chums. As for the tent being used at the N&N, there was deafening silence from our own health minister,Mr Lamb Normally never one to miss a headline

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    norman hall

    Thursday, April 4, 2013

  • The now abandoned PCT who in their wisdom decided that a perfectly good hospital in Aylsham should be closed contributed in part to the problems we now experience at N&N. Our local GP's fought to keep St, Michael's hospital and now they are expected to take the place of the PCT! Enough said!!

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    David Elsegood

    Thursday, April 4, 2013

  • Well said Frankly, I have been saying this for a long time now, some people just do not know what AE stand for.

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    loco

    Thursday, April 4, 2013

  • When are the powers that be, come to there senses are realise that there are now too many people living in this area for the infrastructure, Yes it's as simple as that and it will only get worse, watch.

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    John L Norton

    Thursday, April 4, 2013

  • But not a snap removal of the mendacious hospital board? Slim chance; it will be inadequate junior staff training found at fault, again, per MidStaffs. With DP running the CQC a cover-up is inevitable.

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    Mr Cameron Isaliar

    Thursday, April 4, 2013

  • No doubting there is a problem but I cant help thinking that evryone is looking at the wrong thing! This goes further than a&e, it spreads through the hospital and out into the community. What we need is more community beds, effective primary care and the public to stop using emergency services for minor problems.

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    Frankly

    Thursday, April 4, 2013

  • So, a 'snap' inspection by the CQC. And much deserved. Without being too cynical however, this would be the CQC whose Chair is Mr David Prior, until just a few months ago, Chair of the N and N.

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    Michael Johnson

    Thursday, April 4, 2013

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