Health regulator report reflects major improvements at local hospitals

Hospitals in Mid Yorkshire have seen major improvements in standards of patient care and experience, a report published today (9 January) by the national healthcare quality and safety regulator confirms.


An inspection report by the Care Quality Commission reflects the significant improvements that have been made by The Mid Yorkshire Hospitals NHS Trust in recent months including:


  • Improvements to facilities for patients - a previous report by CQC criticised facilities on the Short Stay Surgical Unit (previously Day Case Unit) at Pinderfields Hospital. Improvements to the environment such as better washing and catering facilities were introduced and in the recent report patients praised the unit, saying it was warm and comfortable.
  • Better communication with patients and their families – the previous CQC report flagged up concerns with care on an elderly medicine ward at Dewsbury and District Hospital. Significant improvements were put in place including the introduction of walk rounds at visiting times by elderly care ward sisters to address any concerns held by relatives and to improve communication as well as routine safety briefings and inspections. The recent report highlighted that ward staff quickly responded to patients needs and staff treated patients with respect and dignity. It said that patients were given choices in their care and that family members were involved in care discussions.
  • A better system for ensuring the right level of staff on wards – the previous CQC report highlighted concerns around staffing levels on an elderly medical ward at Dewsbury and District Hospital. A system was introduced to escalate when there was not enough staff on with senior nursing assessing this twice daily. The recent report shows the Trust now complies in this area with staffing levels being ‘more reactive’.
  • Introduction of a Care Closer to Home ward at Pontefract – this new unit, developed to support people for discharge so that appropriate ongoing services can be arranged, received praise. One patient commented that the care had been ‘brilliant’ with another commenting that staff have been ‘seriously good’.
  • The maternity unit at Dewsbury also received praise from patients with one patient commenting that their experience had been ‘fantastic’. The unit received a warning notice in early 2012 which focused on staffing the unit. The notice was lifted in April 2012 after action was taken to improve staffing levels and quality of care.


The report highlights continued full compliance with standards at Pontefract Hospital, full compliance at Dewsbury and District Hospital (a major improvement on the previous report) and only one area of non-compliance at Pinderfields (an improvement on the previous CQC report).


The area of non-compliance at Pinderfields Hospital (‘Care and welfare of people who use services’) relates to concerns around record keeping and staffing on the Discharge Lounge; delays in patient reviews and quality of experience on the surgical assessment unit and concerns about follow-up care in specialist eye services (Ophthalmology). Since the inspection, a new bespoke Discharge Lounge has been opened and the Trust had an improvement action plan in place around record keeping and reviews of staffing. The report also highlights that action is already being taken to improve the way follow-up care in specialist eye services takes place.


Kate Harper, Director of Quality at The Mid Yorkshire Hospitals NHS Trust, said: “We are very pleased with the results from the report. It is complimentary about the service we provide in many areas and includes a lot of really positive feedback from our patients. This reflects the improvements we have made and the hard work of our staff in providing ongoing high quality care.


“Since the inspection we have made additional service improvements such as opening a bespoke Discharge Lounge at Pinderfields. We are also taking further improvement action.Our patients deserve the best care across all our services and anything less is unacceptable.”


Dewsbury and District Hospital

During the inspection, the CQC visited Ward 4 (Neuro Rehabilitation), Ward 2 (Elderly Medicine), the Discharge Lounge, the Maternity Unit and the Short Stay Unit as well as looking at how hospital complaints were handled.


The inspection found essential standards were met. The report highlighted that in general, ‘patients were very satisfied with the care and treatment they had received and were very complimentary about the attention and attitude of staff towards them’.


This reflects the significant improvements that were made following the previous CQC inspection in July 2012. In particular the last CQC report raised concerns about Ward 2 (Elderly Medicine). Immediate action was taken in response to concerns about quality of care and the level of staffing including:

  • Strengthened leadership of the nursing team
  • A review of staffing levels to ensure they could meet demand
  • Introduction of a daily safety briefing to confirm which staff were on duty and if any patients were at risk i.e. from falls
  • Improvements in communication with relatives to ensure better planning of their discharge from hospital to their home or a care home
  • Introduction of walk rounds at visiting times by elderly care ward sisters to address any concerns held by relatives and to improve communication
  • Introduction of unannounced inspections by members of the clinical and management teams.


During the recent visit to Ward 2, the CQC were complimentary about the care provided and highlighted staff on the ward quickly responding to patients needs and treating patients with respect and dignity as well as the importance of patient privacy and of involving family in care discussions.


Pinderfields Hospital


The CQC visited the Surgical Short Stay Unit, the Discharge Lounge, the Acute Admissions Unit, Gate 41 (Elderly Medicine), the Coronary Care Unit, the Surgical Assessment Unit and Ophthalmology as well as looking at the way complaints are handled at the hospital.


All essential standards were met apart from one. The report found that overall, ‘improvements had been made’ and patients admitted on longer stay wards said they were ‘very satisfied with the care and treatment they had received’.


The report reflects that key improvements were made following the previous CQC inspection in September 2012. In particular, following an inspection in September 2012 the CQC raised concerns relating to the facilities and physical environment of the Day Surgery Unit (now known as the Short Stay Surgical Unit) for patients spending more than 23 hours there. The CQC asked the Trust to take action which the Trust complied with immediately. This action was that the Trust should not admit any further service users for a period exceeding 23 hours to the Day Surgical Unit without prior written agreement of the CQC.


The Trust made significant improvements to the Unit to bring it up to the standard required for short stay inpatients including:

  • Installation of night lighting (bedside lights and curtains to prevent patients being disturbed by daylight/patients arriving at night)
  • Improvement of the catering service so that patients now have the same choice and standard of food as any other ward in the hospital
  • Installation of lockers at every bed space
  • Improvements to signage and the introduction of swipe card access for the theatre area
  • Improvements to the washing facilities with the installation of shower units.


The recent CQC inspection to the Unit found that patients were complimentary about the service they had received on the unit and all patients found the building comfortable. The CQC highlighted that the Unit meets infection control standards, has appropriate facilities such as hot meals, washing and showering facilities and appropriate lighting and areas for patients to store their clothes.


Pontefract Hospital


The inspection at Pontefract was a routine inspection.


The CQC visited the A&E at Pontefract, the Care Closer to Home ward and the Day Surgery Unit.


All standards reported against were met. The report highlights that patients were spoken to respectfully by staff and that their privacy and dignity was maintained as much as possible. It also describes a ‘competent workforce’ with staff who were ‘knowledgeable about their area of expertise’.


On one unit a patient commented that the care had been ‘brilliant’ with another commenting that staff were responsive to their needs.


This recent report shows ongoing good standards of care at Pontefract Hospital. It follows the previous CQC inspection in October 2010 where all standards reported on were also met.



  • The report follows a routine inspection at Pontefract Hospital (12 November) to check essential standards were being met and inspections at Pinderfields Hospital (12/13 November) and Dewsbury and District Hospital (12 November) to check whether improvements had been made following a previous inspection. All inspections were unannounced.
  • The reports are available to view at and then typing the hospital name in the hospital search bar.

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