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CQC place Addenbrooke's Hospital into special measures

A Care Quality Commission inspection has resulted in Addenbrooke’s hospital requiring ‘urgent improvement’ after inspectors found numerous problems with its care.

Run by Cambridge University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, the hospital was criticised for long standing staff shortages in essential areas such as critical care and maternity care where a low midwife-to-birth ratio was a concern as well as the fact that wards were closed regularly due to lack of staff. 

Inspectors also identified risks to patient care where agency workers were supporting in areas they were not properly trained in and where vacancies could not be filled, a high level of operations were cancelled as a result.

The CQC also raised ‘serious concerns’ about the levels of nitrous oxide found at the Rosie Birth Centre.  Known as laughing gas and used for pain relief during labour, inspectors found high levels in the air which can cause headaches, nausea and death in extreme circumstances where oxygen levels are low.  According to their report, senior managers had been aware of the issue for more than two years and advised staff to ventilate the rooms by opening windows.

The inspectors also noted that the maternity equipment used was old and needed upgrading and that best practice did not always happen during labour such as continuously monitoring the foetal heart rate and looking out for increase risk of blood clots.

On a positive note the CGC report did find staff at Cambridge University Hospitals to be very caring of their patients but the fact that some serious problems had been recognised and then not rectified for some time meant that the CQC inspectors had no choice but to place the Trust into special measures.

Cambridge University Hospital Trust chairwoman Jane Ramsey said: “I would like to say sorry to our patients for a lack of effective systems and processes across our trust, which has led to the Care Quality Commission today rating our hospitals as inadequate.

“We take this, and being placed in special measures by our regulator Monitor, very seriously.

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