Portsmouth's Queen Alexandra Hospital under investigation for 'significant harm' incident by Care Quality Commission

INVESTIGATORS are looking into Queen Alexandra Hospital after ‘significant harm’ was caused in a ‘patient safety incident’.

Tuesday, 26th January 2021, 11:38 am
Updated Tuesday, 26th January 2021, 2:15 pm

Serious concerns were raised to the health watchdog about Portsmouth Hospitals University NHS Trust and a probe is under way.

The Care Quality Commission’s deputy chief inspector of hospitals, Nigel Acheson, confirmed he is ‘collating evidence’.

The CQC's Mr Acheson said: ‘In response to serious concerns raised to CQC, we are collating evidence and are in discussions with Portsmouth NHS Trust.

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Ambulances parked up outside the Accident and Emergency department at the Queen Alexandra Hospital in Cosham. Picture: Andrew Matthews/PA Wire

‘Alongside our responsibilities to families and loved ones, we have a legal duty to investigate potential failures to provide safe care or treatment resulting in avoidable harm or a significant risk of avoidable harm.’

Few details about the investigation have been given, but the health trust running the Cosham hospital has confirmed the CQC is deciding whether or not the incident merits a prosecution.

It’s understood the use of ‘significant harm’ to describe the incident means it does not relate to a death.

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Both the CQC and QA Hospital said it was not possible to provide any further detail.

David Fuller, chair of the Health and Overview Scrutiny Panel in Portsmouth, said: ‘Any unfortunate incident is not very good but considering how many people use the hospital and how many concerns get raised, it’s few and far between.

‘But if it’s proved… people should learn by it.’

Currently the CQC rates the hospital as good overall, but ‘requires improvement’ for safety following an unannounced inspection in October last year.

It comes after QA chief executive Mark Cubbon was brought in four years ago to boost the hospital’s standing and performance.

Board papers for a meeting on Wednesday also reveal that a ‘never event’ happened between November and December. Nine such incidents happened in 2019/20, including the removal of the wrong tooth in surgery.

There have been six such events in the year to January.

The board papers show the hospital's Quality And Performance Committee said: ‘The committee noted information provided about a patient safety incident involving significant harm.

‘A multi-agency investigation had been completed, resulting in learning and actions for several parts of the trust.

‘The Care Quality Commission is investigating whether the circumstances of the case amount to a breach of the trust’s statutory duties and as such merit use of the commission’s powers of prosecution.’

Front-line medics are dealing with a more than 450 Covid patients, with nearly 50 of those on mechanical ventilation.

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