Bedford Hospital has been given an overall ‘requires improvement’ rating by the Care Quality Commission (CQC) following their latest report, with Urgent and Emergency services getting worse since they last visited in 2015.
But in an exclusive interview with the Bedford Independent, Chief Executive, Stephen Conroy said the report gives them the guidance needed to ensure Bedford Hospital users have the very best service.
Speaking to us this afternoon, Mr Conroy said: “Clearly there is still room for improvement. We’re very open to criticism from the CQC and other inspections that we get and we always respond very quickly to improving services.”
The CQC gave the hospital a ‘requires improvement’ rating on two of the eight services it looks at when inspecting hospitals:
- Urgent and Emergency Services: Requires Improvement
- Maternity: Requires Improvement
- Medical Care: Good
- Surgery: Good
- Critical Care: Good
- Services for Children and Young People: Good
- End of Life Care: Good
- Outpatients: Good
- Overall: Requires Improvement
Of the ratings given in this year’s report, all were better or the same than the inspection in 2015. But with Urgent and Emergency Services (A&E) getting worse, Maternity Care requiring improvement and four of the six pillars of service also requiring improvement, the hospital kept its overall ‘requires improvement’ result from 2015.
My Conroy blamed the lower rating for A&E on the sheer number of patients coming into A&E, in particular the elderly who have struggled with recent very hot summers and very cold winters. One way Mr Conroy says they’ve tackled this is to open their Urgent Treatment Centre which is now seeing 50 people a day.
But, Mr Conroy adds they are still disappointed: “The pressure has been taken off A&E so if they [the CQC] came back this week we’d have already shown really good improvement.
“We are disappointed to find out what they saw but of the improvements that they have given us, half have been implemented already, the rest will be done by Christmas… We are on a very clear path for improvement.”
Meanwhile, Liz Lees, Director of Nursing and Patient Services, said: “We continue to take action to address the remaining areas highlighted by the CQC to ensure learning and developing is seen as integral to delivering an excellent patient experience.
“Together as a Trust, we will work with our patients and partners to further develop a Quality Improvement Plan so that we continue to deliver better services to our patients.”
Bedford Hospital has been the subject of concern in recent months, in particular due to its merger with Luton & Dunstable Hospital due to take place in April 2019.
This has raised questions over what that means for services available on our doorstep but Mr Conroy says Bedfordians need not be worried: “Both the Chief Execs and the boards of both hospitals want to keep all services available at both sites. A key factor in that is the population is growing so quickly around Bedford and across Bedfordshire. If anything we’re going to need bigger hospitals not smaller.”