PERFORMANCE: The Care Quality Commission has expressed “major concerns” over the management of medication at the Pilgrim Hospital in Boston, Lincolnshire.

It is the latest in a series of critical reports on the hospital, which also saw its entire cohort of student nurses and midwives withdrawn by the Nursing and Midwifery Council last month.

However it is understood that the earlier NMC action is not directly related to the issues identified by the CQC.

In a compliance review published on August 25, the CQC said patients were not protected from “the risks associated with the unsafe use and management of medication”.

The report concluded: “There are not sufficient arrangements in place for the obtaining, recording, handling, use and safe administration of medicines.”

The CQC said a number of concerns were brought to its attention around the use of benzodiazepines, sedatives used to treat confused or agitated patients. In a number of cases, there was “no clear documented assessment and review for why they had been prescribed”.

Assessments by different doctors did not match, with some entries stating a patient was “pleasantly confused” while others stating drugs had been prescribed at a nurse’s request as the patient had been aggressive.

Doses went outside of national guidelines, audits were only carried out at three-monthly intervals, and the competency of nurses was not checked.

The CQC also noted that patients’ individual care plans were not always detailed enough, but described improvements in patient nutrition and in the ability of staff to do their job.

A spokeswoman for the United Lincolnshire Hospitals NHS Trust, which runs the hospital, said: “We welcome the commission’s conclusion that there have been significant improvements at Pilgrim Hospital and we will ensure that progress continues.

“However, we recognise that there are still issues that need to be addressed and we have plans underway to achieve this. We will not rest until we provide consistently high quality care throughout the hospital.”