THE chief executive of the Royal Bournemouth Hospital has apologised to patients who received poor care but claims it is still a safe place to be treated.

And Tony Spotswood says he sees no reason to resign or for anyone to lose their job over today’s damning Care Quality Commission report into the RBH.

Read the full Care Quality Commission report into RBH here

He also denied that he had “taken his eye off the ball” in the past two years by concentrating on the failed merger with Poole.

He told the Daily Echo: “We accept the broad findings of the report and would like to apologise to those patients who received poor care.

“Clearly it is unacceptable, but many of these issues have now been set right. We have talked directly with Professor Mike Richards and he agrees that all of this is fixable.”

He added: “Things have moved on since that report. We have put in place a number of changes in relation to staffing and care of the elderly, and we have already seen a number of improvements within the last six weeks. We know that from the feedback we have had from both patients and carers.”

The decision of the Competitions Commission to prohibit the merger didn’t have an impact on these services.

“I have been here 14 years and we have achieved a great deal in that time and there is plenty of evidence to support the fact that the Trust has been well led. In the past few years we were voted safe hospital of the year and hospital of the year, but nevertheless my focus is now on addressing these issues and ensuring changes are made at a pace.”

He agreed there were some cases where there should have been faster action in addressing some of the issues raised in the report.

“We treat around half a million patients a year - the hospital is too busy which presents higher risks at peak times so we need to take action to make it less busy by employing more staff and getting people out of hospitals at an appropriate time.”

Paula Shobbrook, Director of Nursing, added: “I don’t want patients to be frightened about coming into hospital. We have recruited more nurses: 57 newly qualified nurses are now working on our wards, and we have been building new ward sisters who are committed to raising standards. We are already receiving patient feed-back which says we are improving which is encouraging.”

The RBCH is an NHS foundation trust which is independent from the government, so it has greater freedom to decide how services are run. Mr Spotswood said they were also making changes at board level.

“We have appointed a new medical director and three non-executive directors. We have also created a new directorate of elderly care and put in a new clinical management team.”

Mr Spotswood added: “The public should have absolute confidence in the services that we are providing. This is a safe and effective hospital where they can be assured of getting good care.”

The CQC is due to return for a further inspection within three months of the Trust submitting a final action plan which is expected to be around early April.

  • Overall the report concludes that children’s care, midwifery, critical care and end of life care services at the hospital were good.

“Across the hospital, most staff were eager to give good care. Patients were complimentary about the care they received and the professionalism of staff on surgical services.”

CQC has told the Trust it must take action to improve in the following areas:

• All patients need to have their needs assessed and care delivered safely and in a timely manner by staff who are skilled to do so.

• At all times, patients must be treated with the dignity and respect they deserve and basic care needs must be met.

• The trust must reassure itself and stakeholders that all opportunities to drive quality improvement and quality assurance are taken.

• The trust must ensure that the required number of staff with the correct skills are employed and managed shift by shift, to demonstrate that there are sufficient staff to meet people’s needs.