PERFORMANCE: Maidstone and Tunbridge Wells NHS Trust said it had made immediate changes to improve patient care at its new hospital at Pembury after a routine inspection by the Care Quality Commission.

The CQC inspection on 5 January found the A&E department at the new Tunbridge Wells Hospital, which opened last September, needed a better way of predicting and pre-empting potential increases in patient demand.

Although patients were medically supervised in A&E, some waited too long to complete different aspects of their care before being discharged or admitted.

The trust said it had responded by making changes to help it identify and respond faster to peaks in demand for A&E services at the hospital.

Following the CQC inspection, the trust said it has “focused on improving its escalation system for bringing in more medical staff, to help cope with peaks in demand”.

“More doctors and nurses are now automatically called in if the number of patients coming into A&E exceeds a particular level within a specific period of time,” it said.

The trust said it had also introduced a new two-hourly quality review, under which the lead doctor and nurse in charge of A&E checked every patient to ensure care was progressing appropriately.

Trust medical director Paul Sigston said: “The changes we have made are helping make it a swifter department for more of our patients when we are at our busiest.

“By working with the CQC, we have quickly improved both the way we identify potential peaks in patient demand, and respond to these by calling in additional doctors and nurses as necessary.”

Dr Sigston added: “There are times when some patients will need to spend longer in A&E and that will continue to be the case for good clinical reasons.

“Some of our systems were not as robust as they are now, however, and we apologise to any of our patients who previously waited longer than absolutely necessary to complete all of their care.”