Just one children”s emergency consultant was on duty for BOTH hospitals during the health watchdog”s inspection of HRI and Calderdale Royal.
Understaffed emergency children’s services and delays in women requiring emergency caesarian sections were among the more serious problems highlighted in the CQC inspectors’ report.
Concerning emergency paediatric services the report noted: “The A&E departments’ provision for paediatric patients was limited with only one paediatric qualified staff member on duty during our inspection across both sites and limited facilities available for children and young people.”
It also noted there was ‘no paediatric medical cover on site even though the paediatric observation and emergency surgery unit provided 24-hour care for surgical patients.’
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The report said: “Advanced paediatric nurse practitioner staffing levels were not always adequate to provide a safe service on the paediatric observation and emergency surgery unit.”
And it added: “No paediatricians were on site if a child or young person deteriorated suddenly.”
Although it noted: “There were anaesthetists on site with competencies in paediatric care.”
The trust has been ordered to review its services on the paediatric assessment unit at Huddersfield Royal Infirmary.
Inspectors expressed concern about the lack of staff immediately available on a second theatre for complex births.
The report said: “The Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists guidelines recommended two obstetric operating theatres for a hospital with a birth rate of over 4,000.
“There was a second theatre within the main operating department, but out-of-hours the team which staffed it were not on site and had to travel from home.
“We had concerns about the process of opening a second obstetric theatre out-of-hours and the potential impact this had for women requiring an emergency caesarean section.
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“We found evidence of delays in women requiring category one caesarean sections getting to theatre within the recommended time scale of 30 minutes.”
The report noted staff shortages in areas such as accident and emergency, medical care, children’s services and adult community services.
Medical staffing numbers did not meet national guidance in the emergency departments across both sites.
But inspectors noted ‘it was addressing this through a range of initiatives including national and overseas recruitment’.
It also noted that critical care wards were ‘well staffed’ with nurses.
Source: The Huddersfield Daily Examiner