Watchdog warning to trust boss

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HEALTH inspectors have threatened legal action after they uncovered failings in patient care at Dewsbury and District Hospital.

Care Quality Commission (CQC) officials found that the privacy and dignity of patients were not being respected on Ward Two, which treats mostly elderly people.

Earlier this year, the Reporter Series called on hospital bosses to review the way elderly patients were treated at the hospital through its Dignity at DDH campaign.

The Mid Yorkshire Hospitals Trust refused to hold a review then, saying that there were processes in place to make sure that patients were properly cared for.

But only last month, CQC inspectors found patients on Ward Two had long waits before being helped to the toilet, bed bells went unanswered for long periods of time, and staff were under too much pressure.

The report said: “The evidence gathered on inspection showed that on one ward of the hospital people’s privacy, dignity and independence were not being respected.

“There were significant shortfalls in this area and improvements were needed.”

The Trust’s interim chief executive, Stephen Eames, said: “I would like to apologise unreservedly to the patients and families of those whose care has clearly not been good enough.

“When I took up this post, I was challenged to review the care of older people at Dewsbury following local reports of failings in care.

“At the time, I was assured that these were isolated incidents that had occurred some time ago and that monitoring arrangements were adequate.”

He said the issue was being taken very seriously, those responsible for poor standards of care had been held to account, and an action plan had been put in place.

Ward Two, which was opened as a temporary winter ward, is due to close in a few weeks.

The unannounced inspection was to check on progress after an earlier warning over patient care in maternity services at Dewsbury.

The CQC found the issues with that service had been resolved.