This article was published on November 17th, 2014
Colchester Hospital has put itself on a kind of red alert status after a recent inspection on the hospital’s A&E department and emergency assessment unit, by the Quality Care Commission.
The watchdog found that staff were overwhelmed and struggling to cope with the sheer number of patients. The QCC therefore raised some safeguarding concerns as a result of the situation and particularly after a patient received treatment despite being unable to give consent.
The ‘unprecedented demand’ for patient treatment has forced the NHS Trust to announce a “major incident” whereby all non emergency patients will be discharged allowing staff to focus on the more urgent, life threatening cases.
The hospital’s interim chief executive Dr Lucy Moore told the BBC:
“By declaring a major incident and running a sort of command and control process, we ask all our staff to prioritise that.”
But what exactly is a ‘major incident’? The Department of Health says:
“Any occurrence that presents serious threat to the health of the community, disruption to the service or causes (or is likely to cause) such numbers or types of casualties as to require special arrangements to be implemented by hospitals, ambulance trusts or primary care organisations.”
Shadow health minister Jamie Reed:
“There’s no criticism here by the way of the front-line medical staff and support staff, the criticism I have is the management historically and I’m just hoping the new management team are going to sort it out, but clearly this is very worrying.”
Chairman of the patients’ association group, Peter Blackman said: “Clearly this shows that Colchester Hospital is still in trouble. It is very concerning for patients that the hospital has still not got to grips with the underlying problems.”
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