Hertfordshire health trust needs ‘urgent improvements’

A PRIMARY care trust which covers Hertfordshire requires “urgent improvements” to its safety and quality of care, according to a national watchdog.

There were two main concerns of the Care Quality Commission’s (CQC) findings, when it comes to the former East and North Herts PCT – which this month merged with West Herts PCT to become NHS Hertfordshire.

The first was staff training relating to vulnerable children and adults who have been abused, the second was the documentation of patients’ consent to treatment.

NHS Hertfordshire was one of 22 NHS trusts nationwide which is in need of the improvements, before they can be registered, by law, to the CQC.

The PCT has itself declared six further areas of concerns, but the CQC has said it is satisfied it is “addressing these issues appropriately”.

They include concern about the management of medicines; the safety, availability and suitability of equipment; records management and confidentiality of patient information; and reporting errors, near miss incidents or actual incidents.

Frances Carey, CQC regional director, said: “It is vital the trust makes the changes highlighted, for the safety of those using and working at its hospitals.

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“If we find the improvements have not been delivered on time, the trust could face tougher enforcement action.”

Dr Jane Halpin, deputy chief executive of the PCT, said: “The first condition relates to the need to have a named safeguarding adult nurse.

“This role has been filled by someone whose time is shared with the commissioning side of the PCT, however we recognise this needs to be a separate role.”

Referring to the documentation of patients’ consent to treatment, Dr Halpin said: “During self-assessment we couldn’t be absolutely assured that all staff were keeping their records of patient consent in the same way, so we have put in place training to help staff fully understand why they need to do this consistently, and how.”

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