NHS Receptionists Forced to Monitor A&E Patients

Last November, it was reported that the A&E safety rating at Doncaster Royal Infirmary hospital had been downgraded to inadequate with the bosses being told they needed to take immediate action. However, when the Care Quality Commission recently undertook an inspection there, they discovered some alarming results. They found that NHS receptionists are now being forced to work as “floor workers” in order to help with the overstretched A&E department.

Their report, which was published last week, went into detail about how the unqualified clerical staff did not have the training that was required to correctly identify deteriorating patients or those who required immediate assistance.

It also mentioned how both adults and children who visit this hospital will be much more susceptible to risk due to the untrained and reduced staff.

The CQC’s deputy chief inspector of hospitals in the North, Ellen Armistead commented:

“Concerns identified at the previous inspection had not been fully addressed. We still had concerns about the risks posed to patients and the potential to cause harm.”

This alarming report indicated that the hospital, which treats over 100,000 patients a year, does not have enough paediatric nurses available, which is a huge concern.

The Chief Executive, Richard Parker, indicated that they will be immediately working towards making the changes the “CQC’s concerns regarding assessments and observation of patients.”

He claimed that the observational assessments where being made by trainee nurses and the reception staff who operated as “floor walkers” were assisting patients and raising any concerns they had if they were deteriorating.

They are looking to increase the number of paediatric staff they have available within the hospital.

The staff lacked the skills required in order to provide life or death services and performed initial assessments in plain-view of other patients, which offered very little or no privacy, dignity or confidentiality, which every patient is entitled to.

The hospital will be working to improve their recent inadequate feedback to ensure that it is completely up to the standards that the patients deserve. It’s an alarming report that has been taken on board by the hospital and improvements will be made immediately.

A photograph of a doctor operating in theatre. This is similar to the work that the Doctors at the centre of the St. George's Hospital investigation would have done.

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