'Serious shortfalls' at hospital

Banbury Cake: Professor Sir Bruce Keogh led an investigation into death rates at 14 NHS trusts Professor Sir Bruce Keogh led an investigation into death rates at 14 NHS trusts

An under-fire NHS hospital has been reprimanded by health officials for failing to meet national safety standards.

Tameside Hospital NHS Foundation Trust has been ordered to make improvements to ensure services meet safety and quality standards.

Care Quality Commission (CQC) inspectors found "serious shortfalls" against national standards, a spokesman said.

CQC inspectors visited Tameside General Hospital in January and found that the hospital was failing to meet eight of the 11 national standards reviewed.

Inspectors found that staff had a lack of understanding about mental health law and discovered one patient who had been unlawfully detained for "several days".

A number of elective operations - which can include procedures such as hip and knee replacements - had been cancelled because of bed shortages, the spokesman said.

CQC officials found that on a number of wards and the medical assessment and admissions unit there were not enough staff to meet patient needs.

This meant staff were rushing to complete tasks, the spokesman added.

And in parts of the hospital, patients were not being treated in a dignified way, the inspectors found.

In the wake of the Stafford Hospital scandal a number of hospitals, including Tameside, were investigated for having high mortality rates.

Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt said that since 2005 there were thousands more deaths than would "normally be expected" at the 14 trusts reviewed.

The investigation, led by NHS medical director Professor Sir Bruce Keogh, found that none of the hospitals investigated was providing "consistently high-quality care to patients" and all of the trusts were ordered to act on recommendations set out by health officials.

Mr Hunt announced that that 11 of the trusts, including Tameside, had been put into "special measures" for "fundamental breaches of care".

Malcolm Bower-Brown, CQC's regional director for the north said: "Although we were pleased to find improvement in some areas since our last inspection, our inspectors found a number of serious shortfalls against national standards.

"We have told the Trust where further improvements must be made to ensure patients and their families receive the service they are entitled to expect.

"We will return shortly to check that the necessary changes have been made and can be sustained for the future.

"As this trust is currently in special measures and already subject to enforcement action by Monitor, we have also shared the findings of our inspection with Monitor and asked them to ensure the concerns we have identified are addressed as part of their overall improvement programme for the trust."

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