CQC Inspection Leads To Declaration Of 'Major Incident' At Colchester Hospital

Major Incident Declared At Colchester General Hospital


Andrew Robinson, Press Officer | 0113 218 6463
A 'major incident' has been declared at Colchester General Hospital, following an unannounced inspection by the Care Quality Commission (CQC).

The Department of Health defines a major incident as a situation in which the health of the community is put at serious risk due to services being disrupted.

CQC inspectors turned up at the hospital without warning on Wednesday (November 12th), following an inspection that took place in July this year, in which the medical facility was given the rating 'requires improvement'.

This latest visit focused solely on the hospital's accident and emergency department, as well as its emergency assessment unit, with the CQC raising safeguarding concerns following this.

Now, patients have been urged to only travel to Colchester General's A&E unit if they have a serious or life-threatening condition, while those seeking medical treatment for more minor ailments face potentially risking their health by having to travel further afield to see a doctor.

Sir Bob Russell, Liberal Democrat MP for Colchester, said this decision was "very worrying", but highlighted it has been a challenging year for the hospital, with numerous board members leaving their posts and staff having to adapt to the management of a new team.

Speaking to BBC News, Peter Blackman, chair of an Essex patients' association group, commented: "Clearly this shows that Colchester Hospital is still in trouble.
"It is very concerning for patients that the hospital has still not got to grips with the underlying problems."

Although it is thought the major incident could last for around a week, by using resources to address just emergencies and leaving issues that can wait, staff should be able to focus on discharging as many patients as possible to free up beds for others and get itself back on track.

Mr Blackman added an external party "who have the expertise to sort this out" may be needed to address the current resource issues and reassure patients that the hospital is a safe place to receive treatment in the future.

Expert Opinion
A worrying series of issues have been highlighted at Colchester Hospital by the CQC and the latest unannounced inspection has revealed many of these failures have not been corrected, which is putting the health and safety of patients at risk.

“It is vital swift action is taken at the hospital to improve the quality of the accident and emergency department, as well as the quality of care and treatment across the board. While the facility has been urged to begin discharging patients to free up space, it is crucial the standard of patient care is not put at risk, as all too often we have seen patients discharged, only to suffer even further and be readmitted at a later date.

“We hope the problems at Colchester Hospital, which have been ongoing for a number of months, are quickly rectified and patients are reassured that they will be provided with the best possible care at the facility.”
Mandy Luckman, Partner