The 471-bed Grange Hospital opened in 2020 has come under heavy criticism for various failings.
Healthcare Inspectorate Wales’ (HIW) have called for urgent improvement even as they are worried with the poor patient flow in the hospital. They also raised concerns over potential cross contamination in the “Covid corridor”, out of date medicines and the security of harmful substances.
Staff complained that they could not always deliver the standard of care they wanted to, due to increasing pressures and demand on the department. The hospital is said to be missing 10% of staff.
A report by the Royal College of Physicians in 2021 discovered that some trainee doctors and consultants were scared to come to work, because of understaffing and excessive workloads.
The hospital’s medical director had earlier this year said there was a need to expand the site because demand had been higher than anticipated.
The health board acknowledged and responded to concerns raised, saying: “We’re also pleased to see that the report highlights the hard work and dedication of our staff during periods of extreme pressure on our services, during which patients were treated with courtesy, dignity and respect.”
Inspectors said until it can be improved, “the health board will find it challenging to address a number of our concerns”.
A member of staff who pleaded anonymity said patient flow was “a national problem” and believed there was “good evidence that patients come to harm”.
They used the analogy, “If the bath is full and overflowing, don’t make a bigger bath, sort out the plug hole”.
Patient Lee Pomroy said: “I’ve been there about three or four times. The hospital is fine, it’s just the waiting times… half the time it’s not their fault, it’s just when people come in they have nowhere to put them.”
Lesley Hardy, 64 complained she was left in an uncomfortable chair in the observation room while another patient, Kirsten Lapping says the hospital is understaffed while recounting her frustrating experience at the A&E.
The shortage of staff experience across Wales – and the rest of the UK means patients are unable to be safely discharged from hospitals, despite being medically well enough. The implication is that beds are unavailable for those arriving at A&E needing to be admitted to hospital.
This then causes longer waits for patients in the emergency department.
Inspectors also pointed out that the waiting area at The Grange was very small and unfit for purpose.
They mentioned that the long waits experienced by patients caused some of them to get frustrated and angry although the majority complimented the staff. Some of the patients complained that they sat on the floor because there was no space.
Inspectors in the report said that there could be more than 50 patients in the waiting room with many of them physically or mentally not well. This they said posed a significant risk and placed stress on the staff members.
Inspectors spent three days at the hospital during August.
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