Urgent and emergency services at the Royal Sussex County Hospital have been rated ‘inadequate’ by a health watchdog.
Inspectors discovered patient safety at the hospital was ‘compromised’, there weren’t enough nurses on duty with the right skills and there was ‘overcrowding’ in the emergency department.
The hospital, run by Brighton and Sussex University Hospital NHS Trust has been told it must make ‘significant improvements’ to the emergency department following a visit by the Care Quality Commission (CQC) in July.
Professor Edward Baker, deputy chief inspector of hospitals, said he was ‘concerned’ the trust has not improved since its previous inspection and called for more to be done to protect patients.
He added: “Some patients coming into the urgent and emergency services departments continue to experience a poor level of care and treatment.
“Despite the best efforts of staff the flow from the emergency department into the hospital was not being managed well and this affects the care patients received and staff morale.”
The report said overcrowding in the department meant patients’ privacy and dignity was ‘not consistently met’ – despite the best efforts of staff.
Paul Wallman, A&E consultant and emergency department clinical lead said: “On days when we are extremely busy some patients who are brought in by ambulance have to wait for longer than any of us want and of course we know that this can be an uncomfortable, difficult and even a frightening experience.”
He said staff do their ‘utmost’ to get patients into cubicles as quickly as possible but there is often ‘not the capacity’ to accommodate them.
Mr Wallman added: “However, once a patient comes through those doors they are in our care. We take that responsibility very seriously and always do our best for them.”
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