THE NEWS COMMENT: The CQC report is grim reading – QA must work hard to improve

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Today’s inspection report about Queen Alexandra Hospital makes for very unpleasant reading.

It paints a picture of a regional general hospital serving 610,000 people which has failed to care for some of its patients. Yes, a hospital which cannot look after some of those in most need of help.

We will do whatever we can to defend our hospital in the face of rising pressures on its services and a lack of government funding.

We will take every opportunity, through our own reporting, to champion those staff who have dedicated their lives to a career of care and compassion. And a week hardly goes by when our letters page does not carry thanks from our readers in praise of what these staff have done to look after their loved ones.

But it is hard to find any positives in today’s inspection report.

The damning Care Quality Commission (CQC) document does not pull it punches when it quite clearly says some patients are not safe at the Cosham hospital.

The management team is lambasted for not getting to grips with what is happening on their watch. And even nursing staff are in the firing line.

During not one but two inspections this year, just four months apart, inspectors found patients at risk of malnutrition, staff who failed to go to patients in need and even one left to choke on food, ignored by staff.

For the sake of balance it is worth noting that the CQC’s condemnation does not cover the whole hospital, but they found enough to disturb them from inspections of the acute medical unit, 10 medical wards the discharge lounge and day units for cardiac and renal patients.

The hospital has been taken to task about one thing or another in the past. It kept promising things would change. Clearly they haven’t.

Newly-arrived chief executive Mark Cubbon says the report ‘is a difficult read’.

We wish him well as he sets about the task of ensuring we have a hospital we can continue to have pride in.