An east London NHS trust must make urgent improvements to Romford's Queen's Hospital emergency department, the Care Quality Commission (CQC) has said. The Essex hospital, run by Barking, Havering and Redbridge University Hospitals NHS Trust, is continuing to fail emergency patients almost two years after inspectors called for improvements, the regulator has found.
During the CQC’s most recent visit in May, inspectors found patients who arrived at the hospital by emergency ambulance were waiting too long to be assessed.
In April, one in 20 people were waiting 45 minutes, even though patients should be seen within 15 minutes. The average waiting time for consultations with a specialist was more than three hours, even though the trust's own policy is that all patients should be seen by a specialist doctor within half an hour.
Occasionally, bed shortages meant patients were forced to wait up to 14 hours before being admitted to hospital the report found.
CQC 's London director Matthew Trainer said: "The emergency department at Queen's Hospital in Romford is failing local people. This situation has been going on for far too long. Radical thinking is needed, led by the Trust Development Authority and commissioners."
The trust said it recognised that waiting times at the Queen’s Hospital were still too long. Chief executive Averil Dongworth said: "While I am pleased that [the report] acknowledged that improvements have been made with personal care and the way we look after patients, this does not address the larger issues of waiting times and staffing.
"We have been working tirelessly to improve the situation so that we can provide our patients with the best possible care. We will be working with NHS partners, including the Clinical Commissioning Groups and London Ambulance Service, to address the long-standing causes behind the demand on our services and our poor performance in responding to it."
Guy Forster, specialist clinical negligence solicitor at Penningtons’ Cambridge office, said: "It has to be recognised that there are increasing demands on this busy hospital but it is alarming that, two years after inspectors first raised concerns, these problems are persisting. With the rising admissions to hospital it is even more important that these issues are addressed without further delay so that local people can have confidence in the safety of the health service."