Downgrade: Charing Cross Hospital Picture: Google Street View
One of London’s biggest A&E departments was today rated as “inadequate” by a watchdog, while a casualty unit which is due to be downgraded at a sister hospital was found to be “good”.
The report has further inflamed the row over changes to A&Es in west London by revealing failings at the unit in St Mary’s Hospital in Paddington — which is due to be extended — while praising emergency care at Charing Cross Hospital.
Hammersmith Labour MP Andy Slaughter said plans to replace Charing Cross’s A&E with a GP-led “emergency centre” by 2020 “must be shelved” following the release of the “depressing” Care Quality Commission report. He said: “It would be madness to press ahead with the closure of Charing Cross A&E and the demolition of the hospital. West London cannot cope with the demands on its acute hospitals.”
Today’s CQC report into Imperial College Healthcare NHS Trust said it that “requires improvement” overall after checks in September at four of its five hospitals: the others were Hammersmith — before its A&E unit closed — and Queen Charlotte’s & Chelsea.
Last week, Imperial was one of two west London trusts named as among the worst in the country for delays at main A&Es, a situation critics blamed on the closures at Hammersmith and Central Middlesex on September 10.
Imperial was ordered by the CQC to improve hygiene and cleanliness at St Mary’s A&E — which has been done — tackle nurse shortages and explain how to cut a backlog of 3,500 people awaiting surgery at Charing Cross.
Bosses were told to ensure patients at St Mary’s and Charing Cross were not left without food and drink for “excessively long periods” and bed shortages at Hammersmith meant some patients had to sleep in operating theatres.
Among areas found to be “outstanding” were the major trauma unit at St Mary’s, the hyper-acute stroke unit at Charing Cross and the care of premature babies with feared brain impairment.
“Excess mortality rates” — in which patients die unexpectedly — at the trust were among the lowest in the country.
Professor Sir Mike Richards, CQC’s chief inspector of hospitals, said: “We saw too much variation in the quality of services. Standards of cleanliness and management were inconsistent.”
Dr Tracey Batten, Imperial’s chief executive, who was found to have created “evident optimism” since arriving in April, said: “It’s clear that we now have to redouble our efforts in a number of areas and services.”
Published: 16 December 2014
Updated: 11:49, 16 December 2014 ROSS LYDALL, HEALTH EDITOR