QCQ report rates Bedford Hospital ‘good’ but highlights staff shortages and treatment delays

Bedford Hospital (Photo: Dr Robert Oakley)

Following an inspection in August and September, Bedfordshire Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust has been rated ‘Good’ by the Care Quality Commission (CQC).

It is the first Trust-wide inspection since the merger of Bedford Hospital with the Luton and Dunstable Hospital in April 2020.

The areas inspected were urgent and emergency care, maternity services, medical care and the Trust’s leadership.

And although the Trust received a ‘good’ rating overall, at Bedford Hospital, emergency care and maternity services were highlighted as ‘areas for improvement’.

Maternity services

In 2020, Bedford Hospital’s maternity services were rated ‘inadequate’, but showed improvement following an unannounced follow-up inspection in June 2021.

Read: Maternity Services improve at Bedford Hospital since last inspection was ‘inadequate’

In the latest report, the department was rated ‘requires improvement’ and findings stated that not all staff had completed mandatory or safe-guarding training. This meant that there were not always enough fully-trained staff to meet the needs of patients.

In the report, CQC inspectors mentioned that the Trust was providing good standards of care to people and staff were working hard to ensure the services were resilient to challenges.

Emergency care

The consistent pressures faced within Bedford Hospital’s urgent and emergency care services, like many other NHS Trusts across the country, in terms of long A&E waiting times, was an area the CQC inspectors highlighted as in need of particular focus to improve.

The report highlighted lack of training among medical staff in urgent and emergency care.

It also said: “The trust must ensure people can access the service when they need it, and that waiting times from referral to treatment and arrangements to admit, treat and discharge patients are in line with national standards.”

“Good quality care in spite of recent pressures”

David Carter, Chief Executive at Bedfordshire Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust said: “We are happy with the news of our ‘Good’ rating from the CQC.

“It demonstrates that we are continuing to provide patients with good quality care, in spite of all of the pressures of the recent years.

“This would not be achievable without the sheer hard work and determination of our amazing staff working relentlessly around the clock.

“We understand there is still work to be done and will use this report to make further improvements, addressing all CQC recommendations to ensure learning and developing is seen as integral to delivering an excellent patient experience.

“As a recently formed integrated Trust, this is a positive start on our journey from ‘good’ to ‘outstanding’.

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