PERFORMANCE: An independent review of Worcestershire Acute Hospitals Trust has found the trust is now compliant with standards on dignity and nutrition following a damning report published by the Care Quality Commission in May.

During a visit to the trust earlier this year CQC inspectors found some patients were being prescribed water to make sure they had regular drinks while food was left to go cold before staff could help them eat it.

The trust appointed Professor Janice Stevens to carry out an independent review and was also visited again by the CQC on 24 June. Both inspections concluded the trust was now compliant with the CQC’s essential standards on dignity and nutrition.

Professor Stevens found that “the culture of ensuring mealtimes were protected and all staff contributed to patients eating was not embedded prior to the CQC visit”. 

She continued: “At mealtimes staff would be giving out drugs, carrying out ward rounds and delivering other aspects of care. This inevitably meant that mealtimes did not receive the level of focus necessary to ensure all patients received adequate nutrition.”

During the course of the review, Professor Stevens visited ten wards, held 35 one-to-one meetings and reviewed a large amount of documentation.

She was critical of the amount of time ward sisters were expected to spend away from their ward as part of staffing arrangements and said it was”genuinely hard to see how they can effectively fulfil their role as leaders when they are unable to be “in-charge” of their ward on a daily basis”. 

She made 14 recommendations but insisted the trust should incorporate them into its existing action plan to avoid duplication.