The University Hospital of Wales is Wales’ biggest hospital but the HIW report has raised concerns about the service at the A&E department.
The report added that staff morale was found to be at an “all-time low” even as people were seen sitting on bins and on the floor of the emergency and assessment units at Cardiff’s University Hospital of Wales (UHW).
Cardiff and Vale University Health board said it had created an action plan to tackle the issues raised in the report which it said made for “difficult reading”.
The HIW inspection which took place unannounced took place between 20 and 22 June and found “visibly dirty” sinks, stained commodes and clinical waste bins with rusty lids. It also found wall-mounted hand sanitising containers had nothing in them and medical sharps bins were filled to above capacity.
Additionally, it was found that in the assessment unit, patients were nursed in high backed chairs which are not designed to be used for long periods, with one patient having to sleep using an arrangement of two chairs which did not recline.
Staff of the hospital also raised concerns about the equipment available at their disposal as well as not having the right facilities to treat burned children correctly.
They told the HIW: “A really important part of [children’s] management is cooling with water and decontamination. We do not have the facilities to do this and so have had to try and fit burned children in sinks or take them into the staff changing room to find a shower.”
They also mentioned that their “basic needs” were not being met, with morale at an “all-time low”.
Another told inspectors: “The dignity and safety of our patients has been compromised on an almost daily basis for a sustained period of time.”
Less than 50% of staff expressed satisfaction with the quality of care given to the patients.
The Inspectors also found medicines were not being stored adequately while checks and maintenance of emergency equipment were not done correctly.
The inspector said: “The sepsis trolley was seen to be unlocked and intravenous antibiotics were identified as missing. In both the Emergency Unit and the Assessment Unit we were not assured effective processes were in place or being followed to prevent healthcare acquired infections.”
“In addition, we were not assured that medicines were being stored safely or that checks of emergency equipment were regularly conducted to identify missing items required in the event of an emergency.”
Deputy clinical board director for Cardiff and Vale University Health Board, Katja Empson said, “Our Emergency and Assessment Units have been under extreme pressure for some time and we fully accept the findings of the Healthcare Inspectorate Wales report. The teams have been working hard to make improvements to improve patient experience and have a robust strategy in place to address the issues and adapt services accordingly.”
The health board said that some of the issues the report outlined reflected the pressures faced across the NHS.
She added; “It is important to recognise the team working tirelessly in challenging circumstances to deliver care to patients. The board wants to reassure the team they do not consider this report as a reflection of the effort and commitment they continue to demonstrate.”
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