Norfolk and Norwich Hospital told to improve by inspectors

The Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital. Picture: James Bass.

The Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital. Picture: James Bass. - Credit: Evening News � 2009

The region's largest hospital has been told it must improve by inspectors, after a visit was prompted by whistleblowers.

Mark Davies, the new chief executive of the Norfolk & Norwich University Hospital. Photo: NNUH

Mark Davies, the new chief executive of the Norfolk & Norwich University Hospital. Photo: NNUH - Credit: Archant

The Care Quality Commission (CQC) said in a report released yesterday that inspectors visited the Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital (NNUH) 'due to a number of whistle blowing contacts from staff in relation to regular movement of staff between wards to fill gaps in rotas, insufficient staff in some areas including medical wards, maternity and children's services and allegations of bullying'.

The CQC found although some of the concerns remained, health chiefs had recruited more nursing staff to ease the pressure.

However further issues were found surrounding the management of medicines and mandatory staff training.

And the hospital was given the rating 'requires improvement' - the same result as the last inspection in March last year.

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NNUH chief executive Mark Davies recognised there were areas to work on, but praised staff's hard work and commitment. This was also noted by the CQC's chief inspector of hospitals Professor Edward Baker, who said: 'The attitude of staff remained excellent. All staff were helpful, open and caring in their manner.'

However, he also said staffing at night was a 'challenge' as wards could have less cover than planned, or staff were moved between wards to pick up the shortfall. Staff were also not always following policies.

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Professor Baker said: 'For example we found that emergency resuscitation equipment was not always checked daily and that fridge temperatures including those in theatres were not always checked and recorded.'

He added: 'We found that quality checks on the WHO surgical safety checklist were not being completed; this despite there being four never events within the surgery service.'

In other areas, inspectors saw outstanding practice. One example was the clinical research carried out in the children and young people's service. And a bereavement baby memento bag given out on the Cley gynaecology ward was highlighted. The bag contained a form to acknowledge the existence of a foetus born before it was viable (as a birth certificate could not be issued) and tiny hand-knitted garments for stillborn babies to have photographs for parents.

Mr Davies added: 'We would like to thank the CQC for the report published today on the Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital, and we thank the CQC team for their time at the hospital. The report is very helpful and notes significant progress, highlighting many areas of outstanding practice.

'Our staff are amazing and the good progress we are making on our journey of improvement is because of their dedication and professionalism.

'Nothing is more important to us than providing the best care possible for our patients and we welcome the CQC's findings that the attitude of staff remains excellent, that all staff were helpful, open and caring with excellent examples of leadership.

'The CQC commended the outstanding practice in the children's and young people's service for their commitment to research which means that the service is at the forefront of clinical innovation. They also noted the outstanding practice in the maternity service in its forward thinking use of technology in training.

'Junior nurses told the CQC team that the medical division was a good place to start their career and that all staff they spoke with said that they felt it was a supportive and interesting place to work, managers gave clear leadership and feedback and made staff feel valued.

'Of course we recognise that there are areas that still require improvement and we are committed to working together with teams to make this happen.'

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