Alder Hey 'Must Improve'

Inspectors At The CQC Have Found A Number Of Issues At The Alder Hey Children's Hospital

20.08.2014

Changes are required to improve the outpatient and critical care services at Alder Hey Children's Hospital, according to the Care Quality Commission (CQC).

New reports have shown that whilst the emergency and end-of-life departments are operating at an "outstanding" level, a shortage of staff in critical care units and the lengthy waits for outpatients remain a concern for the facility. 

While current figures show the national targets for waiting times in A&E and referral-to-treatment times were met, patients experienced difficulties with appointment arrangements. 

Some carers showed their dissatisfaction over the current booking system used at the trust.  

Louise Shepherd, chief executive of the Alder Hey Children's Hospital NHS Foundation Trust, highlighted her concern over the lack of staff in medical and surgical wards, especially senior doctors - as they were unable to meet the needs of young people and children. 

Ms Shepherd revealed that £1 million has already been invested to bring in more nursing staff and the trust has already employed 37 new recruits in August.

CQC chief inspector of hospitals professor Sir Mike Richards commented: "I am concerned that shortages of nurses in some departments may affect patient care. 
"While there have been moves to improve the recruitment process, the trust must continue to make this a priority. 

"Our judgement is that this is a good hospital in many ways - but the issues which we have identified are preventing it from achieving excellence."

This is not the only time that the hospital in Liverpool has had setbacks, as it had previously been involved in an organ donor scandal which consisted of the unauthorised removal and disposal of children’s organs.

More than 2,000 body parts were discovered in pots which contained tissue from hundreds of infants at the hospital. 

The scandal, which happened between 1988 and 1995, led to the introduction of the Human Tissue Act in 2004.

Expert Opinion
While the CQC reports into the Alder Hey Children’s Hospital indicate that the emergency and end-of-life departments are operating at an ‘outstanding’ level, the fact that other services are lagging behind is troubling.

“Patient safety should always be a top priority, which means providing the best possible care across all departments. This includes having a user-friendly system in place to make appointments and having adequate staff on all wards - both of which were highlighted as issues at the hospital.

“It is vital that the findings of the CQC report are taken on board by the Trust and action is taken to improve systems and staffing levels so that patients can be seen quickly and treated by specialists who have the appropriate resource to provide a high-level of care.”
Lisa Jordan, Partner