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Maidstone Hospital's patient care must improve say inspectors from the Care Quality Commission

By Angela Cole

Improvements need to be made at Maidstone Hospital to ensure people's health, welfare and safety are not put at further risk, inspectors have said.

In an unannounced visit to the Hermitage Lane site the Care Quality Commission found action was needed in three out of four areas, including staffing, the care and welfare of patients and assessing and monitoring the quality of its service.

The only area which did not need action was in the consent to care and treatment, although in this area, inspectors observed that while patients were asked for their consent sometimes it was not until they were on a trolley waiting to be wheeled into theatre.

On one ward, they found a patient with infectious vomiting and diarrhoea who needed to be in isolation was being nursed in a bay with other patients because a side room was not available.

Maidstone hospital

Inspectors found children were well cared for during normal working hours, but provision at A&E was not always appropriate. They also found that although there was a paediatric resuscitation team on hand during normal hours, there was no paediatrician at the hospital out of hours, and that one had to be called from home if there was an emergency.

Only one paediatric emergency nurse practitioner was employed at the hospital, which meant not all shifts were covered.

They also found that surgeons and consultants travelling between the trust's two sites, at Maidstone and Pembury, meant they were often late or not available and so junior doctors had to cover.

But patients interviewed were positive about their care and treatment.

Dr Paul Sigston, medical director, said: “We welcome many areas of this latest review that identify good clinical practice, positive patient comments and opportunities which we are quickly addressing with the CQC to improve patient care. We are also clarifying some incorrect assumptions within the report that do not accurately reflect actual standards of patient care that we can evidence at Maidstone Hospital.”

"The trust is sending the CQC further evidence, as part of an action plan, to both address these assumptions and quickly complete improvements where moderate actions are required on three standards."

He added: “Our hospitals are very safe. We have good mortality rates, positive patient feedback, high quality outcomes and excellent infection control. We are also improving in all of these areas and this is evidenced through robust local and national safety and quality indicators.”

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