KGH improving after warning notice - but there's still work to do

Their rating for medical care services is no longer inadequate

By Sam Wildman
Friday, 6th May 2022, 12:01 am
Updated Friday, 6th May 2022, 10:13 am
Kettering General Hospital

Kettering General Hospital has improved safety on its wards after a rocket from health inspectors – but there’s still more work to do.

The Rothwell Road hospital was given a warning notice last year by the Care Quality Commission (CQC) for failing to meet two of its legal care requirements.

Inspectors had found the hospital was not learning its lessons when vulnerable patients fell over, despite a series of serious incidents caused by a lack of staff knowledge.

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It meant medical care services at the hospital were graded as ‘inadequate’ – but a report released today (Friday) says the rating is now ‘requires improvement’ after a number of positive changes were found during an unannounced inspection in March

Kettering General Hospital’s interim director of nursing and quality, Fiona Barnes, said: “Today’s report demonstrates some of the significant progress we have made in improving safety on our medical wards, particularly on the issue of falls prevention.

“I want to thank all of our teams for the immense amount of work and effort they have made to make this happen. I was very pleased that the report shows we have made real progress in preventing falls, improving the ward environment, and documenting the way we deliver care.

“We developed our new processes for falls by working closely with our teams and the adjustments we have made together has made them more effective.”

Inspectors found most of the requirements for the warning notice have now been met and that most staff had completed falls prevention training. Last year just 32.6 per cent of staff had completed it and the number of falls has since reduced.

The CQC said that staff recognised and reported incidents and near misses, with managers investigating incidents and sharing lessons learned, and that systems were in place to maintain a safe environment.

Corridors, bed spaces and bays were generally free from clutter, mobility frames were generally at a patient’s bedside or close by, patients could reach call bells and staff responded quickly when called.

But the report released today highlighted areas that KGH still needed to improve on.

It said: “Ward bay tagging processes were not always consistently implemented.

"The service did not always have enough nursing and support staff with the right skills, training and experience to keep patients safe from avoidable harm and to provide the right care and treatment.

"Managers did not always ensure actions from learning briefings were implemented across all areas in the service.”

KGH chief executive Deborah Needham said: “There is still work to do to continue to embed our new ways of working but I am very pleased to see how much progress we have made in less than a year.”

Bernadette Hanney, the CQC’s head of hospital inspection, said: “I'm pleased leaders and staff have worked hard to successfully improve medical care services at Kettering General Hospital.

“The service has now addressed most of the issues raised, and implemented the improvements needed, although there are still some areas which need to be fully embedded, particularly regarding learning from serious incidents.

“Trust leaders told us they will address our concerns as a matter of urgency, and we will continue to monitor their progress.”