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Inspectors criticise unsafe staffing numbers at Rampton Hospital

Unsafe staffing levels at Rampton Hospital was one of several concerns raised by inspectors who said the service ‘requires improvement’.

The high security hospital managed by Nottinghamshire Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust received the negative rating after 54 inspectors from the Care Quality Commission (CQC) visited in March.

An inspection report, published today (June 15), reveals a number of concerns about staffing levels at Rampton Hospital, which is one of just three high secure units in England. The others are Broadmoor in Berkshire and Ashworth in Merseyside.

The hospital, in Retford, has 26 wards divided into five services – including a national deaf service and a regional personality disorder service – and has 357 beds. When the CQC visited, 315 patients were detained at the hospital.

Patients there have included Soham murderer Ian Huntley, and Beverley Allitt, the nurse who murdered four children in her care.

Inspectors found that it was “not uncommon” for only one member of staff to be working on a ward at night, and found that morale was low among workers, who reported a “distinct lack of feedback or involvement” from leaders of Nottinghamshire Healthcare.

The CQC ordered that trust ensure sufficient staffing levels and that all workers “adhere to the infection, prevention and control and dress code policies”.

Read more: ‘Hidden’ mental health bed crisis sees patients sent to Manchester and London for treatment
However, the inspectors also saw examples of good practice and praised the physical health centre’s screening programmes for being “patient-centred and responsive to people’s needs”.
Rampton Hospital was rated as ‘good’ for being caring and responsive, ‘requires improvement’ for being safe and effective and ‘inadequate’ for being well-led.

Dr Paul Lelliott, CQC’s deputy chief inspector of hospitals, said: “Our inspectors found a number of improvements were needed to ensure the standard of care being provided at Rampton Hospital meets that which people should be able to expect.

“At the time of the inspection, the hospital was experiencing a high rate of staff turnover. The resulting shortage of staff meant that safety to both patients and staff was at times compromised. It was not uncommon for there to be only one staff member on duty on a ward at night. This breached the trust policy and was potentially unsafe.

“Staff across all groups reported low morale and a distinct lack of feedback or involvement from trust leadership. They also reported not feeling very confident in raising concerns for fear of reprisal.”

Responding to the report, a spokeswoman for Nottinghamshire Healthcare said: “We are disappointed about the ‘inadequate’ rating for leadership in the hospital as the senior team in place is working hard to improve staffing and morale.

Read more: New £12m mental health facility will be home to Nottinghamshire’s first eating disorders ward
“The trust is pleased that the services at Rampton Hospital achieved the rating of ‘good’ for caring. The care afforded to patients by our staff has delivered improved recovery and outcomes for people with the greatest level of need.
“We will look closely at the final report and have already implemented changes which are making a considerable difference to the staffing issues raised. We are confident that the good work that the inspectors saw during their visit, including physical health and violence reduction, will continue to improve the service provided by the hospital.”

Fran Steele, regional director of delivery and improvement at NHS Improvement, said: “Clearly we are disappointed that Rampton Hospital has received a ‘requires improvement’ rating from the CQC.

“NHS improvement will be working closely with Nottinghamshire Healthcare to ensure that it addresses the issues identified in the report at pace, particularly those concerning safer staffing.”

An advert for staff nurse jobs at Rampton Hospital, posted on the NHS Jobs website, offers to pay the “first year of professional member fees” as an “incentive” for nurses graduating in 2017/18..

The advert is for band five nurses, earning between £21,692 and £28,180 a year, and covers “various wards”.

Source Nottingham Post