PERFORMANCE: Commissioners and governors visiting Chesterfield Royal Hospital Foundation Trust have described a litany of problems found in one of its wards including overcrowding, staffing concerns and a failure to report incidents.

The governors made an unannounced visit to Basil Ward in December after senior figures from North Derbyshire Clinical Commissioning Group expressed “shock” at conditions they saw during a visit a week earlier.

The governors found 28 patients in the ward - double the amount it was designed to accommodate - and a general lack of space.

Chesterfield Royal Hospital NHS Foundation Trust

Issues discharging patients caused by paperwork and medication issues was revealed Chesterfield Royal Hospital FT

Problems in discharging patients caused by paperwork and medication issues, a lack of incident reporting, and a matron unaware of patient issues were also identified, according to minutes of the governors’ December meeting.

Basil Ward accommodates patients needing to be moved to other types of care outside acute settings.

The problems were identified despite the trust having an action plan to address the issues “as a matter of urgency” following the commissioners’ visit to the ward.

The minutes, published last month, said: “Jayne Stringfellow [an appointed governor from North Derbyshire CCG] had reported on a recent CCG visit to Basil Ward during which the CCG was shocked at what it observed.

“Following this visit, Denise Weremczuk [deputy chair of governors] decided to arrange an unannounced governor ward visit a week later where similar issues were still evident.

It added: “The governors questioned how they could have found the ward in such a poor state if the actions arising from the CCG visit had been implemented.”

Lynn Andrews, Chesterfield Royal Hospital director of nursing and patient care, told HSJ: “A swift response to the governors’ visit was made, with all improvement actions now complete.

“This is why we value our governors and the role they have in holding us to account.”

Ms Andrews added that the ward would be moved to a site purpose built for patients with cognitive impairment by the end of the month.

She said: “When we met with [the governors] to discuss their findings, it was clear that whilst patient safety was not at risk, and staffing levels were safe, the ward environment and how care was coordinated day to day required immediate improvement to meet the high standards we set and expect.”

“Basil Ward is a transitional ward, caring for patients who are medically fit, but who often have complex needs, and in many cases long term conditions including dementia.

“We’ve spoken to each member of staff individually, to talk through any concerns they had and to discuss our expectations, we provided additional support for the ward in the form of supervision and education.”