Lawyer Welcomes Plans To Improve East London A&E Facilities

Medical Law Expert Says Long Term Plans To Protect Patient Safety Must Be Top Priority


Medical law experts at Irwin Mitchell have welcomed planned improvements to an East London A&E Hospital unit after the Care Quality Commission (CQC) said it was providing patients with ‘unacceptably poor care’.

The A&E department at Queen's Hospital in Romford is set to cap the number of patients it admits at busy times to improve care after inspectors found some A&E patients had to wait up to 11 hours before being transferred to a ward.

It follows unannounced visits by CQC inspectors to Queen’s Hospital in November and December because concerns were raised about the care and welfare of patients in March 2012.

A report into the visit found 5% of patients who required admission for further treatment waited more than 11 hours to be transferred despite recommendations that the trust should aim to transfer 95% of patients who are being admitted to wards within four hours of arrival.

Inspectors saw people being nursed on trolleys when they needed to be moved into beds, increasing the risk of pressure sores, dehydration and falls.

Barking, Havering and Redbridge University Hospitals NHS Trust said it was working to improve emergency care and apologised to anyone who had received poor standards. The CQC is due to meet the Trust Development Authority and local commissioners next week to discuss next steps.

Alison Eddy, a Partner and Head of the Medical Negligence team at Irwin Mitchell’s London office, said: “We are deeply concerned to hear of unacceptable standards within the Romford Hospital A&E department and welcome the investigation by the CQC to gain answers about why conditions were so poor.

“Plans to place a legal restriction on the number of people left waiting to be admitted for further treatment will protect patients and ensure they receive the care they need as quickly as possible.

“There is no excuse for patients being treated in corridors and being left without any privacy or dignity and the meeting next week must result in more long-term plans to safely manage the number of patients who rely on the A&E department at Queen’s Hospital. This must include greater numbers of specially trained staff and beds to deal with the high demand.”