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Colchester: Progress in most areas at Colchester General Hospital, says report

16:10 12 March 2014

Colchester General Hospital

Colchester General Hospital

The NHS trust that runs two north Essex hospitals is making improvements but there is still work to be done, according to a review published today.

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At the request of health sector regulator Monitor, a panel of experts visited Colchester General Hospital and Essex County Hospital last month to review progress against an action plan developed last June as a result of the Keogh Review.

In its report about Colchester Hospital University NHS Foundation Trust, the panel, led by Dr David Levy, medical director of NHS England Midlands and East, found progress had been made against most actions.

In 26 out of 33 groups of actions there was improvement but the report reveals there is still more work to be done before the actions are fully implemented.

The actions relate to the care of deteriorating patients, infection rates after surgery, improving the complaints process, staffing levels, skill mix and the availability of hospital porters.

But the panel noted there were still significant concerns or limited or no evidence that improvements had started against six actions including the development of a quality focus, compliance with mandatory training and support for junior doctors.

A panel spokesman said: “The panel felt that a number of improvements are now beginning to appear, although these need time to become further embedded.

“The hospital felt a much quieter and calmer place with staff appearing visibly happier compared to the original Keogh quality of care and treatment review.

“Staff spoken to mentioned the difficult time the teams have been through recently and welcome the support of the new executive team and feel that the change of culture has started to be one of openness and transparency.

“We observed progress against most actions during the visit and were assured that one of the 33 groups of actions has now been fully addressed, however the focus on quality and actions must remain a priority.”

The fully implemented action relates to escorting patients to the radiology department for diagnostic tests.
The report has been welcomed by the chief executive of Colchester Hospital University NHS Foundation Trust, Kim Hodgson.

She said: “It shows the trust is on the road to recovery but also that there is still a long way to go.

“The trust accepts this report in full and welcomes the level of detail because it helps to shine a light onto those areas where we need to focus.

“The fact that we are improving is testament to staff rising to the challenge.”

The trust was one of 14 inspected last June as part of the review led by NHS England medical director Sir Bruce Keogh.

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