BY CALUM FRASER
Watchdog chiefs carried out an unannounced inspection of Lewisham and Greenwich NHS Trust in response to concerns from patients and their relatives with the outcome that the service still requires improvement.
The concerns were mainly about discharge planning, staffing levels, particularly nursing, and patients receiving poor care.
Care Quality Commission inspectors found that there was still an issue with the number of nurses at University Hospital Lewisham (UHL) and Queen Elizabeth Hospital in Greenwich.
Patients said they were involved in discussions about their care but, at UHL relatives felt nurses were too busy to talk to them. Nurses at UHL felt they did not always have sufficient time to spend with patients.
The Government watchdog has not re-rated the services inspected with the overall rating unchanged at Requires Improvement.
Inspectors found improvements during the May 2018 inspection.
For example, medical patients on surgical wards now had dedicated staff to ensure patients received appropriate care and treatment.
Inspectors observed nurses and allied health professionals treating patients with kindness and patients were positive about the care they received.
Discharge planning was working reasonably well – but staff were having to manage more complex arrangements.
The trust is aware of the problems and is working to improve the process. Many patients were positive about the care they received and inspectors observed caring interactions between patients and staff.
Staff were working hard and were positive about their local leadership and managers and the support they received from them.
Professor Ted Baker, CQC’s Chief Inspector of Hospitals, said: “I am pleased that there is evidence that Lewisham and Greenwich NHS Trust is now working towards addressing the concerns raised by patients and their relatives.
I hope to see further improvements when we next inspect the trust.”
Angela Helleur, chief nurse, said: “The CQC inspectors noted that we have made improvements since their full inspection in March last year), and commented on the compassionate and caring attitude of our amazing staff.
“The report noted that we do face challenges in some areas where staff shortages mean we rely on agency staff.
We are working hard to address this through targeted recruitment and by ensuring that all our staff are supported and valued.
“We will continue to focus on making improvements for patients through our improvement campaign.”