Whittington Health inspection: Hospital trust ‘good’ but warning made over consultant cover

The Whittington Hospital 'requires improvement'. Picture: Steve Parsons

The Whittington Hospital 'requires improvement'. Picture: Steve Parsons - Credit: PA ARCHIVE IMAGES Steve Parsons

Junior doctors at The Whittington have warned of a lack of overnight consultant cover, a report by the care watchdog reveals today – but the trust behind the Archway hospital is “good”.

Among inspectors’ other concerns were confidential information being left unattended in a reception area overnight. But the Care Quality Commission (CQC) also found highly committed staff delivering high-quality patient care, while there was outstanding work to help protect patients from abuse.

The trust was praised for providing “hope courses” for cancer patients to get together outside of hospital and hear from motivational speakers.

Some patients described the community dental services as “life-changing”.

Palliative care was outstanding, providing “effective” services for families.

But junior doctors said there was not enough cover overnight, with consultants not immediately available.

The hospital must work to ensure patients’ details are confidential, the report added. In some cases, rubbish bags with confidential information were left in reception overnight.

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There is a culture of “under-reporting” incidents and near misses, the CQC said. There were 69 reported “patient safety” incidents in a 12-month period in the critical care unit – with similar units reporting 25 to 45 incidents each month.

And staff within critical care did not always challenge visitors entering the unit.

Whittington Health chief exec Simon Pleydell said: “It is vital that we continue to build upon our success and continue to be rated as one of the best NHS trusts in London.

“The inspection team have also highlighted some areas we know need to improve – particularly around our bed capacity and improving the flow of patients through our hospital and we have already started to address these specific concerns.”

Pick up next week’s paper for a full report.